Sports

Bring on the Tigers

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Be sure to see "A playoff Resume"

No need for motivational speeches this week, says Sequim coach Erik Wiker.

Sequim's Wolves seek their first state playoff victory in school history when they host Burlington-Edison at

6 p.m. Saturday at North Kitsap High School in Poulsbo.

The Tigers finished 7-2 in the ultra-tough 3A/2A/1A Northwest Conference and 8-2 overall after a 45-0 pasting of South Whidbey, a playoff seeding/crossover game, on Friday night.

Sequim sloshed through a literal mud pit to beat Fife 33-14 the same evening, running the Wolves' regular season record to 7-0 in Nisqually/Olympic League play and 9-1 overall.

Taking the lion's share of plays, running back Travis Decker tallied 189 yards and five touchdowns - including a 60-yard score on Sequim's first play from scrimmage - to lead the attack.

"I think (the Wolves) came out with a bit of an attitude," said Wiker.

"This is one of those 'don't count' games and it's really easy for the kids to get lackadaisical. (But) they came out with an attitude and played to their potential ... which I was proud of."

Despite giving up at least two touchdowns for the fourth time this season, the Wolves' defense held Fife to zero net yards and no first downs in a dominant first half.

Sequim held Trojan quarterback Devan Bennion to 1-of-17 passing for 5 yards and three interceptions.

Sequim QB Drew Rickerson was 15-of-30 passing for 156 yards.

Now the Wolves, tied for 10th in the latest Associated Press 2A poll, face a much tougher task. Burlington-Edison is a strong 2A squad from a conference featuring the likes of No. 3-ranked Lynden, Ferndale and Blaine.

Of the Tigers' two losses, one came Oct. 30, a 20-0 loss to Lynden. The other was a 35-17 loss to Squalicum.

Quarterback Dylan Boe leads the Tigers' wing-T rushing attack while Damon Acoba is one of B-E's top rushers.

Wiker said he expects his team to need little motivation this week.

"It should be all intrinsic from here: they've got to want it, they've got to want to practice hard," he said.

Wiker said the Wolves will make adjustments to Burlington-Edison defensively but are likely to keep the Sequim spread offense fans have seen all season long.

Playoff heartbreak

The Wolves are seeking to end a torturous streak of fortune in the postseason. With just one playoff appearance since 1978 (a first-round, 21-0 loss to Hoquiam), the Wolves have qualified for postseason play each of the last six seasons.

To review:
In 2004, the Wolves dropped a 36-35 decision to Franklin Pierce in a 3A state playoff play-in game, missing a key point-after try in the waning minutes.

In 2005, the Wolves had a 6-0 lead with 90 seconds left in a similar 3A state playoffs play-in game against Lindbergh, only to see Eagle receiver John Desmarais score on a fourth-down, 66-yard screen pass and lose 7-6.

 In 2006, playing in the state 2A tourney, an over-matched Sequim squad dropped a 38-14 decision to Lynden, the eventual state champs.

In 2007's state 2A tourney first round, Sequim held a 20-19 lead against heavily-favored Tumwater before T-Bird kicker Nathan Sampson nailed a field goal with 34 seconds left, helping the Thunderbirds escape with a 22-20 win.

In 2008 (last season), the Wolves - despite missing their starting quarterback and fullback - had the ball on the Centralia 25-yard-line and five minutes to go in a tie game in the state 2A first round contest. But Sequim turned the ball over on downs and, with 0.4 seconds left on the clock, Centralia quarterback Forrest Ahrens found Dominick Courcy for a 26-yard touchdown toss and 21-14 Centralia win.

"We've had tough breaks before and still could have won the game," Wiker said. "Things happen. We've played good teams and they've played good against us. We just happened to be on the other end. So maybe now they're hungry enough we'll not let that happen again."

If Sequim manages to beat Burlington-Edison, the Wolves advance to play the winner of the Black Hills/Lynden contest on either Nov. 20 or Nov. 21.

Lynden is the defending state champion, beating Prosser in double overtime last fall.

Be sure to see "A playoff Resume"

Reach Michael Dashiell at miked@sequimgazette.com.



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