Elite teams at the developmental football level typically share two common qualities. The first is a roster featuring a large number of players with former collegiate or higher experience and the second is a strong internal structure.
The Puyallup Nation Kings have both of these and that’s why they are a top-notch organization and one of the most dominant teams on the West Coast.
The Kings have won the Western Washington Football Alliance for two consecutive years, and in 2016 they also added a Rocky Mountain Bowl National Championship and a Western Football News National Championship on their way to a 13-1 finish.
A big reason for their success is the not one or two, but six former Pac-12 players on their roster and a handful of other developmental standouts. At a level that is almost always searching for bodies along the offensive and defensive lines, the Kings have the luxury of having elite players on both sides.
Current defensive coordinator Manase Hopoi, who played for the University of Washington and the Minnesota Vikings, doubles as a defensive tackle for the Kings and plays alongside fellow former Huskies tackle Wilson Afoa. Sean Parker – another former UW star – holds down the safety position and Cory Fuavai anchors the offensive line.
Former Washington State Cougars Paul Stevens and Shawn Lovelace add even more strength to Puyallup Nation’s defense.
The Kings talent doesn’t end with just those six, though.
Safety Jerome Williams played for Central Washington and had a tryout with the San Diego Chargers, and this off-season, Josh Davis joined Puyallup Nation from the Indoor Football League
With so many legitimate options to choose from, Kings owner Ty Satiacum found it difficult to identify just one or two leaders on each side of the football during his interview with Developmental Football USA.
Photo by KPetersen Photo.
“It’s tough, it’s really tough because we’re just so talented on both sides,” Satiacum told Developmental Football USA. “I’d have to say Jerome Williams is the heart of our defense at the safety position as well as Vikah Lefau at outside linebacker.
“Jerome is a hard hitter and he’s basically the quarterback of the defense. He puts all of our defensive backs and linebackers in place in coverage. He’ll come up and lay the wood and the guys really round around him.”
“Vikah is just a playmaker. He probably has the most raw talent that we’ve come across that’s come to the Puyallup Nation Kings, that’s never played college ball. With the politics of the pros, it’s hard to get him a look and he could definitely play arena, but that doesn’t pay enough for him to support his family. He’s one of those guys you can put anywhere on the field and he’s going to make a play.”
Offensively, behind the stout line, the Kings have proficient quarterback play from Adam Kruse and the rest of the offense flows from there.
“He played overseas and won a championship overseas,” Satiacum said. “He’s easily one of, if not the best, quarterback in the Pacific Northwest. In one game he had 625 passing yards and 10 touchdowns and got our local news player of the week with a behind-the-back touchdown pass. He had a bunch of Canadian Football League tryouts this year. We didn’t know if he was coming back or not, but it looks like he’s going to be sticking with us.”
Kruse has plenty of targets to throw to from a unit of pass-catchers that have earned the name “The Freak Show.”
“Mike Waller, Ktron Barquet, Deshaun Salgado and Pierre Culliver,” Satiacum said. “That’s pretty much the heart of the receiving core. They all put up big numbers last year. Deshaun was only 21 years old and a rookie in the league. He came in and put up big numbers. If there was a Rookie of the Year award, he would have won it for sure.”
Add all-purpose back Christopher McCutcheon to the already long list of weapons and Puyallup Nation’s offensive should be potent and explosive again in 2017.
“He’s fast, strong, durable and explosive,” Satiacum said. “He’s kind of like a Darren Sproles type of running back. He can get you big yards up the middle or on la screen pass. He’s very fast and very powerful.”
Head coach Tutu Tamaalevea and offensive coordinator David McEachern certainly have the pieces in place to repeat as WWFA Champions and National Champions. The Kings should find out exactly where they’re at right now when the season kicks off next weekend.
“This year, our league has the most teams we’ve ever had,” Satiacum said. “I think we’re at 16 teams and I think this could be our best year. We basically kept our talent from last year and added some key additions.”
While the Kings are certainly the team to beat in the Pacific Northwest, they know it won’t be a walk in the park to defend their title, as several other strong teams are emerging.
“I’d have to give it to the Wenatchee Valley Rams, they are who we played in the finals,” Satiacum said. “They won the National Championship the year before we did. They won it the previous year, then joined our league and took second place behind us. They’re always tough.
“The Tri City Rage are looking tough this year, the Spokane Wolfpack and the Renton Ravens.”