Orcas survive overtime thriller

It was the second meeting this season for the West Sound Orcas and their heated rivals the Snohomish County Vikings.

The two Northwest Football League teams have been down on their luck since their first meeting in the preseason (a 13-13 tie).

The Orcas opened their season the same way as last year with a 0-3 record and the Vikes haven’t fared much better with an 0-3 stretch of their own.

Pride was on the line Saturday to determine who might still have a shot at climbing out of the void of futility and enter the bye week with a notch in the victory column.

But with their starting backfield out of town, the Orcas’ game plan was up in the air until unheralded Bobby Lee showed up for his first practice just 48 hours earlier.

Lee, a 5-10, 210-pound former lineman for the D.C. Chiefs, put the team on his back as he rushed 21 times for 100 yards and capped off a 65-yard Orcas drive in overtime with a three-yard touchdown run for the victory.

“I was tired,” said Lee, who moved in June to Bremerton, where he’s assigned to the USS Carl Vinson. “I’m not in any football shape right now.”

He said he picked up a few plays on Thursday but didn’t know he would play much until he learned starting running backs Larry Bates and Todd Lewis would be unavailable.

Lee showed his inexperience early when he fumbled the ball on a first down midway through the first quarter.

“He came to me and said, ‘That won’t happen again, coach.’ ” said Orcas head coach Steve McDaniel.

The Orcas got on the scoreboard first when middle lineman Derrick Saulsberry intercepted Vikings quarterback John McCourt at the Vikings’ 16-yard line and ran it back to the 10-yard line.

Fullback Keith Griffin carried the ball twice for eight yards and Orcas’ quarterback Ramon Martinez connected on a two-yard pass to tight end Seth Parker with 2:21 left in the first half.

While it was a big play for Saulsberry, it also was his last for the night after he said he felt his right hamstring pop.

The two teams marched up and down the field without scoring until McCourt connected on a 14-yard touchdown pass to Duane Bowen on a fourth down play with 1:49 remaining.

Orcas defensive end Kevin Shearer said the team will enter their bye week feeling pretty good about themselves.

“This is a great building point for us,” Shearer said. “We were a piecemeal team out there today but things went really well. We dominated the whole game on offense and defense and we came out with a win.”

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