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West Seattle Warhawks (1980-1986)

 

Years of Operation: 1980-1986

 

Overall Record:  33-39

 

First Game: Sept 6, 1980 vs Seattle Cavaliers

 

First Win: Sept 20, 1980 vs British Columbia Panthers

 

Final Game: Oct 25, 1986 vs Skagit Valley Raiders

 

League Affiliation:  

 

Northwest International Football Association (1980-83)

Northwest Football Alliance (1984-86)

 

Team Headquarters: Renton, Washington

 

Team Colors: Blue & White

Owner: Jack Lawless (1980-1984) Randy Jacoway (1985-86)

 

General Manager: Jack Lawless (1980-84) Randy Jacoway (1985-86)

 

Coaches: Jack Lawless (HC 1980-83); Keith Grayson (HC 1984)Dan Hoge (Asst 1980) Mike Russeff, Bob "Oly" Olson, Mike Mauze, Al Burleson (DC 1984, HC 1985-86), Randy Jacoway (86) Phil Pompeo (83)

 

Home Field(s): West Seattle Stadium, Highline Stadium, Renton Stadium

 

Titles Won

None

 

1980 Schedule/Results (3-6):

 

Honors

Kevin Grayson, TE (1983 NIFA 1st Team)

 

In 1980 Kevin Grayson and Jack Lawless came up with the idea for creating a semi-pro football team for entry into the Northwest International Football Association (NIFA) following a mid-winter West Seattle High School alumni game in 1979.  For the first time since the 40's, West Seattle had a semi-pro team.

 

The new kids would take on a daunting task in the 40-year old Seattle Cavaliers.  West Seattle, who played the 1980 season without a nickname as a publicity stunt, took the Cavs to the wire finally losing 7-6 after a 2-pt try failed following a Bob Besaw's first TD in franchise history on a 1-yd sneak with 32 seconds remaining in the game.  The following day, Lawless took the team for a Sunday game against the North Shore League's Vancouver team where they lost 20-13.

 

A 14-13 loss to Skagit saw the Warhawks again try for the game winner with less than a minute to go, on a Dan Hottowe field goal attempt from 41-yards that missed wide.

 

The teams first win came against the British Columbia Panthers who came to West Seattle Stadium with only 13 players.

 

An easy win against the Puget Sound Knights where Kevin Grayson caught 4 passes for 158 yards and 2 TDs, was followed by a close loss to the Knights the following week and a two-point loss to the Cavaliers after a high snap on a FG try forced Besaw to throw into the endzone on the final drive where it was picked off preserving the Cavalier win.

 

In 1981 the Warhawks nickname was added after a contest was held to name the team.  They picked up Don Curley, George Williams, and James Brown from the defunct Burien Flyers and had Dario Casarino punting after being released by the Philadelphia Eagles and from the USFL as a New Orleans/Portland Breaker.

 

After defeating West Seattle 22-12 earlier, the Raiders turned the ball over on their final 5 possessions of the game to allow the Warhawks to take a 32-20 win.  Skagit Valley would avenge that loss with a 19-3 victory in the NIFA playoffs holding the Warhawks to only 7 first downs, and a horrible punting day by Dario Casarino who had punts of 18 and 29 after averaging nearly 45 yards per punt throughout the season.

 

When the Vikings moved to Ilwaco to start the 1983 season, the Warhawks gained John Peterman and Al Bessette.  '83 also marked the debut of Harry Washington who would go on to star with the Auburn Panthers.

 

By 1984 the Warhawks had a reputation of being the "Los Angeles Raiders of the Northwest".  Brawls were common place and scathing editorials by Lee Miller of the West Seattle Herald were printed calling the team "bush".  An Aug 11 game turned ugly when Seattle Police were left helpless as a helmet-swinging melee broke out following taunts between players as children milled around with players.  This was the second fight of the game and it's believed was started because of frustrations over playing time and looming cuts coming from the Warhawks as they entered league play in the new Northwest Football Alliance.

 

Phil Pompeo, formerly of the King County Vikings, surfaced as offensive coordinator in 1983 under Lawless after being fired unceremoniously by Viking GM Lee Johnston towards the end of the '82 season. Al Burleson, a member of the 1983 Los Angeles Express (USFL) was brought in as defensive coordinator.

 

Pompeo and Burleson set out to clean up the image of the Warhawks and bring discipline to what many called an out-of-control team.

 

In 1985 Lawless makes his exit and Burleson takes over the head coaching position.  By 1986 he has the Warhawks off to their best start at 3-1 with their only loss to 2-season unbeaten Auburn. Nick Straub breaks his foot and is unavailable to kick extra points against the Eastside Express and the Warhawks lose 7-6.  The following week the team was blanked by the Salem Stars and internal strife had begun tearing the team apart at the seams.  Burleson and Jacoway were at each others' throats and on Monday Burleson had resigned as head coach saying he was not getting support from management and felt "backstabbed" by GM Randy Jacoway.  Jacoway had overstepped his bounds on the sidelines according to Burleson by yelling at players and giving "coaching" advice.  When Jacoway spoke with reporters he dismissed any concern about Burleson and the rest of the staff and players expected to leave as well, indicating he was going to demote Al to defensive coordinator anyway and take over coaching himself which he did the following week.  The Warhawks would go 3-3 under Jacoway including a playoff shut out to the Raiders whom Burleson's team had beaten 40-6 earlier in the season.

 

The 1987 season was one of complete change for the Warhawks who dropped the "West Seattle" designate in favor of "South End" indicating their new playing locations of Renton and Highline Stadiums.  B.L. Jones became the GM and former Seahawks Eddie McMillan and Richard Harris were hired as head coach and assistant coach respectively.  The team would eventually be the Southside Warhawks and it's history continues here:  Southside Warhawks.

 

 

Sept 6 @ Seattle Cavaliers 6-7
Sept 7 @ Vancouver 13-20
Sept 12 -Skagit Valley Raiders 13-14
Sept 20 -British Columbia Panthers 30-0
Oct 4 - Puget Sound Knights 34-7
Oct 11 @ Puget Sound Knights 8-18
Oct 18 - Seattle Cavaliers 8-10
Oct 26 @ Skagit Valley Raiders 5-21
Nov 8 - Seattle Police Team 54-7
   
1981 Schedule/Results (5-6):  
Aug 29 @ Oregon City Steelheads 14-23
Sept 5 @ British Columbia Blue Bombers 21-20
Sept 12 Puget Sound Kings 25-14
Sept 19 @ Seattle Cavaliers 6-20
Sept 26 Skagit Valley Raiders 12-22
Oct 3 @ Skagit Valley Raiders 32-20
Oct 10 @ Puget Sound Kings 7-16
Oct 17 Seattle Cavaliers 16-13
Oct 24 British Columbia Blue Bombers 37-6
Oct 31 @ Pierce County Bengals 0-47
Nov 6 Skagit Valley Raiders * 3-19
Nov 21 Seattle Police Team cancel
   
1982 Schedule/Results (3-7):  
Aug 14 @ Oregon City Steelheads 0-41
Aug 21 Puget Sound Kings 31-15
Aug 28 Seattle Cavaliers 21-7
Sept 4 King County Vikings 9-22
Sept 11 @ Oregon City Steelheads 0-13
Sept 25 King County Vikings 20-5
Oct 2 @ Skagit Valley Raiders 16-26
Oct 9 Skagit Valley Raiders 26-39
Oct 16 Washington County Grizzlies 15-22
Oct 30 @ Oregon City Steelheads * 15-44
   
1983 Schedule/Results (6-5):  
Aug 6 @ Portland Steelheads 16-19
Aug 13 @ Spokane Fury 10-0
Aug 20 Skagit Valley Raiders 14-2
Aug 27 @ Washington County Grizzlies 22-14
Sept 3 Seattle Cavaliers 12-6
Sept 10 Skagit Valley Raiders 5-14
Sept 24 Portland Steelheads 21-24
Oct 1@ Pacific County Vikings 13-9
Oct 8 @ Spokane Fury 28-31
Oct 15 Seattle Cavaliers 16-12
Oct 29 @ Portland Steelheads * 15-40
   
1984 Schedule/Results (5-5):  
Aug 4 Sno-King Blue Knights 21-7
Aug 11 Bellevue Express 6-36
Aug 18 @ Seattle Cavaliers 21-0
Aug 25 Clark County Grizzlies 11-6
Sept 1 @ Auburn Panthers 7-10
Sept 8 Spokane Fury 7-6
Sept 15 @ Skagit Valley Raiders  
Sept 22 Sno-King Blue Knights 0-14
Sept 29 @ Bellevue Express 0-34
Oct 6 Peninsula Pioneers 9-6
   
1985 Schedule/Results (5-4):  
July 27 Auburn Panthers % 0-7
Aug 3 Salem Stars 10-11
Aug 10 @ Eastside Express 2-6
Aug 17 @ Auburn Panthers 2-10
Aug 24 Seattle Cavaliers 18-0
Aug 31 Skagit Valley Raiders 40-22
Sept 7 Snohomish County Blue Knights  
Sept 21 Eastside Express 27-8
Sept 28 @ Salem Stars 26-21
Oct 5 Auburn Panthers 0-31
Oct 12 Snohomish County Blue Knights  
   
1986 Schedule/Results (6-6):  
July 18 @ Salem Stars 28-7
July 25 @ Skagit Valley Raiders % 40-6
Aug 9 Auburn Panthers 0-22
Aug 16 @ Seattle Cavaliers 14-9
Aug 23 Eastside Express 6-7
Aug 30 @ Salem Stars 0-19
Sept 6 @ Skagit Valley Raiders 24-41
Sept 27 Auburn Panthers 0-23
Oct 4 @ Snohomish County Blue Knights 28-6
Oct 11 @ Seattle Cavaliers 28-6
Oct 18 @ Eastside Express 10-7 OT
Oct 25 Skagit Valley Raiders * 0-26
   
*NIFA Playoffs  
% Hi-Yu Trophy Game  
^ NWFL Playoffs  
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

 

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