Paul Moseley
Seattle Lutheran Saints Cody Jones breaks a tackle in the backfield in a game against the Evergreen Lutheran Eagles. The Saints won 23-14.

SLIDESHOW: Seattle Lutheran's aggressive style pays off with a win over Evergreen Lutheran

By Paul Moseley

Seattle Lutheran may be the hardest hitting football team in West Seattle. The Saints opened their season against Evergreen Lutheran Eagles at West Seattle Stadium saturday night in front of a riled up crowd, and engaged in aggressive football from the first kick-off to the final whistle.

Evergreen, who typically plays 8-man football, fielded an 11 man team for the matchup. if anyone thought Evergreen would be a gimme game because they play 8-man, they were in for a rude awakening. The Eagles fielded a roster as large as Seattle Lutheran, and brought along a crew of big, fast ball players.

The Eagles took the opening kickoff and went right to work, driving into Saints territory. They went to the air, and Saints #5 Grant Doerr nabbed his first interception of the night on the Saints 20 and returned it to the 40 yard line. After a four and out series for the Saints, Evergreen took over on their own 22. Once again, the Eagles went to the air and aimed for Doerr, who made his 2nd pick of the night and ran it back to the Evergreen 20 yard line. The Saints got down to business, starting with a QB keeper for 13 yards to the 7, then a handoff to Saints #32 Abijah Smith for a 7 yarder for the TD and Seattle Lutheran was up 7-0 with 4:34 in the first.

Evergreen and Seattle battled for the rest of the first quarter, trading posession 3 times and trying to hold onto the football with 3 fumbles between them in less than 4 minutes. Seattle Lutheran finally ended up in good field position on the Evergreen 20 yard line, and ran an option to Saints Abijah for 20 yards for his second score. At the end of the first quarter, it was 14-0 Seattle Lutheran.

In the 2nd quarter, both teams battled each other up and down the field, and the Saint defense kept up the pressure. At the end of the 2nd quarter, Evergreen got backed up to their goal with a 4th and 16. The long snap sailed over the punter's head out of the end zone for a safety, making it 16-0 at the half for Seattle Lutheran.

Starting the 2nd half, the Saints continued their march and executed a nice drive starting on their own 40. They completed a 25 yard pass and quickly followed with an option play to #13 Ben Sanders for their third touchdown of the night, making it 23-0 Seattle Lutheran with 7:05 left in the 3rd quarter.

Down by three touchdowns and a safety, Evergreen increased their intensity on the next drive and grinded out a first down. Then, on 3rd and 13, the Eagles called a trick play with a double pass and the Saints made their 3rd pick-off of the night when #33 Matt Weller grabbed the toss. Seattle Lutheran was on a roll, and marched down the field on the back of a 40 yard run by Abijah Smith to the Eagles 30 yard line. Then It was the Saints turn to fumble, and the Eagles recovered. They answered Seattle Lutheran's long run with a beautiful pass the other way to Evergreen #92 Karl Leitzke for a 42 yard reception. A few plays later, Evergreen was in the end zone and made a two point conversion making it 23-8 with 9:48 in the 4th quarter.

The Saints took it personally and, on their next possession, drove the ball down to the Eagles 6 yard line. On a fumbled snap, Evergreen recovered and started what would be the longest drive of the night. It took 3 plays to go from their own 6 yard line to mid field with a 29 yard gain by Eagles Leitzke , followed by an option to #23 Jake Lawrence for a 29 yard gain. Then a pass across the middle and Abijah Smith (on defense) made a massive hit on #88 John Henning that was helmet to helmet, drawing a personal foul, giving Evergreen a first down, and sending Abijah out of the game seeing stars. A few plays later and it was Henning again for the Eagles with a 2 yard reception for a touchdown, and just like that Evergreen closed to within 9 with 2:37 left in the 4th. The Eagles were unable to convert on the 2 point PAT which would have put them within 7 and a chance to tie or win.

It was a great game to watch and both teams played with intensity through the whole contest. After coming off a great first win, Saints Coach Jeff Scott was upbeat about the team "We had a great team effort". Asked about the team's short term goals he said "Stay healthy and compete. We got some turnovers then we started giving them back. Good teams don't do that so were going to work on it in practice".

Final score: Seattle Lutheran 23, Evergreen Lutheran 14

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