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Orcas record first win of new season
"And then there was one. And it wasn't the West Sound Orcas.Chris Antwine scored from 9 yards out with 2 minutes, 10 seconds remaining to play Saturday, lifting the Orcas to a 20-12 victory over the Eastside Chiefs at Bremerton Memorial Stadium. The decision lifted the O's out of a last-place tie with the Chiefs in the Northwest Football League (NWFL) standings and left the Bellevue squad as the only team in the league still without a win.Man, we needed that, said Orcas safety Dave Snyder, whose interception in the end zone with 1:05 to play locked up his team's first victory this season, following five straight defeats. Winning eases a lot of pains.After two preseason losses, the Orcas started their first regular season of NWFL play against the league's top three teams - including the ersatz national champion Puget Sound Jets - and were stung by an aggregate 144-14.So Saturday's victory was as welcome as a hot bath to the cast of Survivor.It was real frustrating for the team, said head coach Robert Mulligan of the difficult start. We just had to keep from getting down. We knew the schedule would eventually get a little easier.Shawn Parker caught second-quarter touchdown passes of 12 and 56 yards from Don Purser. But each time the Chiefs were able to equalize, and the game remained knotted at 12 until late in the fourth quarter. Eastside's drive fizzled on downs at its own 31, and it took the Orcas six plays - all but one on the ground - to hammer it in from there.Even after Antwine's run through a big hole over left tackle, which ended with him bulling a Chiefs linebacker over the goal line, and even after Elkanah Montgomery's sweep around left end for two points, the victory wasn't sealed until Snyder hauled in Steve Antonsen's errant pass in the end zone with 1:05 on the clock.Our defensive line got a lot of pressure on (Antonsen) all day, Snyder said. My interception, and another time when I got a good knock on a guy, both were due to the pressure they put on.While that was the defense's only takeaway, and while it failed to sack Antonsen, its constant pressure kept himto a 6-for-18 passing day and just 71 aerial yards.But the key to Saturday's win was an offense that came out of a season-long sputter to produce nearly 300 yards. Parker - wth 104 on three catches - and Antwine - who had 17 carries for 110 yards - both figured prominently in that boom.So did Purser, who came on in the second quarter after starting quarterback Matt Gates was shelved by a slight concussion. He completed 5 of 13 passes for 107 yards and the two scoring strikes to Parker, despite a painful foot injury that forced him out of the starting job two weeks ago.He played with some pain, Mulligan said of Purser. He wasn't going to play today unless it was necessary; I had Kris Lowry as our number two quarterback. But When Matt went out, Don said he felt OK, so we sent him in there and he did real well.Mulligan also praised his revamped offensive line, which led the way to 165 rushing yards for the Orcas, as well as leading receiver Parker and re-emerged rushing star Antwine.The 5-foot-7 fireplug, who started this season working out with another NWFL team before returning to the West Sound fold, helped the O's improve their ball control, something that had been lacking in their fumble-plagued earlier outings.Our goal was to stay on the field as long as possible, Antwine said of the offensive unit. (Mulligan) told me I was the starter, and it was up to me how long I stayed in, how long I produced.His production was consistent. He ripped off a 42-yarder in the first quarter over right tackle, getting himself through the secondary with a nifty sidestep move, but mostly he was dependable for 4-6 yards on every touch.We played our game today, Mulligan said. We had five linemen block the whole game, and they did a great job. The defense continued to play as hard as it can ... and we got a win.NOTES: Olympic graduate Jamal Stoudemire turned up in the secondary for the Orcas and made several key pass defenses. ... QB Matt Gates, hit hard on a second-quarter roll-out play, was taken to Harrison Hospital for tests. He returned to Memorial Stadium within a few minutes after the end of the game. ... Don Purser's first pass was his 12-yard TD connection with Shawn Parker. ... The Orcas' only turnover came when Purser's pitch got behind RB Elkanah Montgomery and was recovered by Chiefs DB Tommy Raine. ... The Orcas are idle this weekend, then travel to Vancouver for a July 14 meeting with the Columbia Cougars, kicking off at 6 p.m. at Kiggins Bowl. West Sound's next home game is Saturday, July 21 against the Pierce County Bengals. "