In recent years, Puget Sound sports fans began hearing whispers of a possible football dynasty. The Seattle Seahawks were set for their second NFL Superbowl and much of the chatter around the nation was focused upon what was expected to be a long run of Seattle championship trophies. Just a couple more titles and it would be called a dynasty.
We all know how that ended, and there’s no sense re-opening fresh wounds among the fan base. The possible dynasty run was put on hold, with hopes that it may begin again this season. However, the sensational run by the Seahawks hasn’t been the only impressive stretch put together by a football team from around these parts.
The Puyallup Nation Kings are far from a household name around the Puget Sound, unless you happen to play for one of the teams that have been steamrolled by them in recent years. Playing in the semi-professional Western Washington Football Alliance, the Kings aren’t getting airtime on the nightly news, nor have they had much fanfare in any print media, short of our own publications.
Meanwhile, the Kings are three wins away from capturing their third-straight WWFA championship. When the bean counters decide that an organization has reached the “dynasty level” the magic championship number is widely-regarded to be three in a row.
This article may very well have appeared last season, had the Kings closed the books on their incredible 2014 season, the way they had planned. Instead, two turnovers in the championship game flipped a deadlocked game for the rival Pierce County Bengals, and the Kings were left wondering what happened.
The next season began with more difficulty for the Kings, as the squad had to deal with several coaching and administration changes. Something shifted with the team, going through that adversity, and they went on to capture the 2015 WWFA championship.
Last season, the Kings put together a run that still seems closer to a fairy tale, than the true story that it was. Not only did Puyallup win their second-straight WWFA championship, they extended their season even further, capturing two semi-pro/amateur national championship trophies, and it wasn’t even close.
Puyallup quarterback Adam Kruse has been the signal-caller for the Kings since last season. Over the past two seasons, the Kings have run up a perfect 20-0 record. Staying focused on the big picture, while decimating the competition on a weekly basis, has become business as usual for the team.
“It’s hard to get to the top,” said Kruse. “But it’s even harder to stay there, and we understand that. Our approach right now is one game at a time, but with some big games coming up I think we have a chance to do something really special in this league that not a lot of teams have ever been able to do.”
The Kings “Darkside” defense has long been considered the backbone of the team, but the offense is also second to none. Kruse is surrounded by a top-notch running backs corps, as well as a host of athletic receivers who can outrun and outleap their defenders. Rounding out the offense is an offensive line that opens up big holes for the run game, while also giving Kruse enough time to find an open target downfield. The quarterback knows and appreciates being surrounded by such exceptional talent.
“It’s a lot of fun, and it definitely makes my life easier,” said Kruse. “The best part is I have played with a lot of these guys over the years, and the bond and brotherhood that this game has given us, will be memories forever.”
When the Kings host the Wenatchee Valley Rams in their quarterfinal matchup on Saturday, July 29, it will be a rematch of last year’s championship game. While the Rams (3-4) have shown themselves to be a very tough, hard-nosed team this season, they are going to have difficulty moving the ball against the Kings’ defense, and that is going to spell big trouble for the Rams. Wenatchee squeaked through their wild-card playoff game against the Pierce County Bengals by a score of 15-12 on Saturday, July 22. Two weeks ago, playing on the Bengals home turf, the Kings rolled over their rivals by a score of 61-12.
A win will see the Kings host one of the WWFA semifinal games on Saturday, Aug. 5. Should Puyallup advance, they will likely play in the WWFA championship game on Saturday, Aug. 12, at Renton Memorial Stadium and that’s where things could get even more interesting.
Two seasons ago, Puyallup’s first championship team had the talents of quarterback Justin Southern directing the offense. Last season, Southern tried his luck playing in Europe, but has since returned to Washington and is now the signal caller for the second-seeded Arlington Grizzlies (9-0). If there is a team on the horizon that could give Puyallup a run for their money, it’s going to be Arlington. In two weeks, that possible championship game matchup would also pit two championship quarterbacks against each other. The drama writes itself.
“I don’t know the guy, so it would just be another game for me,” said Kruse. “But I am sure for some of the team they may have mixed feelings about it. But I don’t care who we play, as long as we are in the championship.”
Puyallup hosts Wenatchee on Saturday, July 29, at Chief Leschi Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. This season, the winner of the WWFA will face the Portland Raiders for the Pacific Northwest Championship. The winner of that game will travel to California on Sept. 2 to face the Capital City Fury for the West Coast National Championship. The winner of that game will play in the Minor League Football Report National Championship in Las Vegas.