Seattle-Tacoma opens exhibition play with big win against Oregon club
The Cobras (1-0), who will open Professional Developmental Football League play on June 8, took apart the semipro Inner City Shine from Oregon 77-12 in their season opener at Renton Memorial Stadium.
It was a dominant effort in all phases of the game as Sea-Tac scored on every offensive possession and surrendered less than 200 total yards.
Former NFL running back Mike Bell didn't disappoint as he was part of a backfield that rushed for 255 yards and four touchdowns. Bell carried five times for 58 yards, including a 41-yard weaving run down the sideline that went for a score when he cut back to the middle of the field early in the first quarter.
"I saw exactly what I needed to see out of Mike Bell," Cobras head coach Richard McCleskey said. "He still has it — he never lost it. I needed to see the old car move."
Ken Cornist led the rushing attack with 70 yards on eight attempts, and he plunged in from 2 yards out midway through the second quarter.
The passing game worked out well, too. Quarterback Justin Walz went 6-for-10 for 162 yards and four touchdowns — three of them to receiver Titus Mack, who finished with five receptions for 120 yards. Roderick Johnson also hauled in a TD, catching a 46-yard bomb from Walz down the left sideline late in the second quarter.
Sea-Tac led 63-6 at halftime, and the teams played with a running clock for the final 30 minutes.
"It was good to get out there and get some film out there," Walz said.
Walz, a 5-foot-11, 200-pounder from Western New England University, ran the Cobras' spread-option offense, often with two or three running backs in the backfield. He jokingly said the goal was to put 100 points on the board.
"We wanted to send a message," he said. "We're the professional organization, and they're not. Plus, 100 is a nice, even number, and I like even numbers."
It didn't seem too far-fetched as the Inner City Shine punted only once in the first quarter and then abandoned the strategy to go for it on fourth down the rest of the way. The Shine worked out of a pistol formation with four wide receivers but had trouble moving the ball and turned it over on downs five times.
Inner City quarterback David Littleton was intercepted three times — twice by linebacker Izaiah Barsh, who returned one for a 45-yard score and had a second pick-six called back because of a penalty. Raynard Pamilton also intercepted a pass and blocked an extra-point attempt.
"Overall, there were a few good things, and a few things that we still have to get better at," Cobras veteran linebacker Paul Stevens said.
One of them is penalties. Sea-Tac was penalized 16 times for 185 yards, and it 10 was flagged 10 times for 15-yard infractions — either personal fouls or unsportsmanlike conduct. The Inner City Shine amassed 11 penalties for 89 yards.
"We were itching a little bit to get out there," Walz said. "We've been beating on each other in practice, and I think the guys were just excited to get out there and hit a different color jersey."
Cornist called it embarrassing, and running back Chris Poindexter, who scored touchdowns on two of his three carries, said it comes down to discipline.
"We need to go back to the drawing board and do the little things," Poindexter said. "There are some wrinkles to be ironed out. That's why we play these games."
McCleskey praised the team's offensive line, and both Walz and Poindexter pointed to David Istanich as the example. The 6-foot-5, 310-pound lineman from Florida International University joined the team Friday and played Saturday night.
"He stepped right in and did a good job for us tonight," Walz said.
In his limited work, Bell impressed his teammates.
"He's got that explosiveness, that extra burst, and he has that extra gear," Walz said. "He does a good job of setting up his blocks, as well."
Stevens said the Cobras know tougher competition ahead of them.
"We know the bull's-eye on our back is pretty huge," he said. "Teams are going to want to take a shot at us and play at our championship level."
Seattle-Tacoma Cobras 77, Inner City (Ore.) Shine 12 (exhibition)
at Renton Memorial Stadium
Inner City Shine 0 6 0 6 — 12
Sea-Tac Cobras 28 35 7 7 — 77
ST — Chris Poindexter 22 run (Eric Guttorp kick), 11:45
ST — Mike Bell 41 run (Guttorp kick), 9:07
ST — Titus Mack 11 pass from Justin Walz (Guttorp kick), 7:18
ST — Poindexter 5 run (Guttorp kick), 3:46
ST — Walz 7 run (Guttorp kick), 12:45
ST — Mack 56 pass from Walz (Guttorp kick), 9:50
IC — Traymore Bowie 29 pass from David Littleton (kick blocked), 8:54
ST — Ken Cornist 2 run (Guttorp kick), 5:01
ST — Roderick Johnson 46 pass from Walz (Guttorp kick), 1:49
ST — Izaiah Barsh 45 interception return (Guttorp kick), 0:19
ST — Mack 14 pass from Walz (Guttorp kick), 8:31
IC — Bowie 30 pass from Littleton (pass failed), 10:12
ST — Brandon Zinn 17 pass from John Liska (Guttorp kick), 6:14
First downs 11 12
Rushes-yards 20-49 23-255
Passing yards 128 197
Comp-Att-Int 8-32-3 8-12-0
Fumbles-lost 2-0 0-0
Sacked-yards lost 0-0 0-0
Punts-Avg. 1.37.0 0-0
Return yards 114 140
Penalties-yards 11-89 16-185
Rushing — Inner City, Willie Green 6-6, David Littleton 11-44, Cherone Schneider 3-(minus-1). Sea-Tac, Chris Poindexter 3-25, Mike Bell 5-58, Ken Cornist 8-70, Justin Walz 5-63, Brandon Zinn 1-40, John Liska 1-(minus-1).
Passing — Inner City, Littleton 8-32-3 128. Sea-Tac, Walz 6-10-0 162, Liska 2-2-0 35.
Receiving — Inner City, Julian Littleton 2-30, Andrew Sedacy 1-17, Traymore Bowie 3-76, Trieu Nguyen 1-2, Cherone Schneider 1-3. Sea-Tac, Titus Mack 5-120, Jarrell Patterson 1-14, Roderick Johnson 1-46, Zinn 1-17.
By Brian McLean