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Sequim’s opening salvo
by MICHAEL DASHIELL
Different season and different lineup, same result.
It took less than 24 minutes for Sequim’s Wolves to remind their Clallam County brethren how dominating they can be, as they shredded the visiting Forks Spartans 42-0 Friday night in the 2011 season opener.
Frank Catelli threw for three touchdowns while Jack Wiker rushed for 80 yards and a pair of scores, giving the Wolves three blowout wins against Forks in three opening games.
After three seasons of being used in a variety of roles on offense, Catelli looked in command as the Wolves’ new starting quarterback. He hit 15 of 21 passes as eight different Sequim players caught balls in the Wolves’ spread offense.
“It was a good game,” Catelli said. “I’ve been waiting for this for three years.”
“Frank looked sharp and we have a good corps of receivers,” Sequim coach Erik Wiker said. “I try to call plays that work and (we) believe in everyone.”
A 35-point second quarter made believers out of a Forks squad that had kept it close in the opening frame. Catelli hit Jack Wiker for a 20-yard pass play that put Sequim up 7-0 five minutes into the contest.
After that, Sequim scored on its next five possessions: a 6-yard Wiker scamper; a 1-yard Catelli-to-Christian Miles toss; a Catelli-to-Michael Ballard connection from 10 yards out; a 5-yard Wiker run; and Ballard’s 35-yard interception return for a score just before the halftime horn that capped the onslaught.
“This is what I’ve been preparing for all offseason,” said Ballard, who finished with four catches for 55 yards.
Defense looks solid
While Sequim’s offense was humming right along thanks to sharp passing from Catelli, Wiker and Lopaka Yasumura running through gaping holes created by a bullying offensive line and key downfield blocking from receivers, the Wolves’ defense had little trouble with Forks’ offense, save for a few long kickoff returns and a pair of fourth-down conversions.
Catelli and Ballard each had sacks, Jack Wiker and Kenny Henning recovered fumbles and Nick Ramirez had a key interception.
In all, Sequim held Forks to just 146 total yards and seven first downs.
“They were a lot tougher than last year,” Erik Wiker said of the Spartans. (Sequim beat Forks 58-7 in Forks in 2010).
The Sequim coach said he’d like to see better tackling and improvements in the special teams department in the coming weeks.
Catelli led Sequim with 14 tackles, followed by Yasumura with 10 stops.
“We were all expecting to win,” Ballard said, “but we need to step it up (for next week).”
Sequim looks to avenge its only 2010 regular-season loss on Saturday, Sept. 10.
They’ll be on the Trojans’ home turf as they take on 1A power Meridian in Bellingham. Game time is 5 p.m.
Last season, the Trojans opened up a 28-8 lead by halftime and cruised to a 55-16 win in Sequim, the Wolves’ largest home loss since 2002.
“That’s why we schedule teams like Cascade Christian and Meridian,” Wiker said. “We want to test our mettle. That loss (last year) helped us get better.”
Meridian, which plays in the rough-and-tumble, multi-classification Northwest Conference, amassed 545 yards of total offense in that contest.
The Trojans went on to finish 13-1, losing in the state 1A semifinals to eventual champion Cascade Christian — which Sequim played in 2008 and 2009.
Said Ballard, “I’m happy for (the match-up); it’s a challenge.”
The senior recalled last season’s loss where the Trojans put several hard hits on Sequim players.
“We’re a small team,” Ballard said, “but we hit hard.”
Reach Michael Dashiell at firstname.lastname@example.org.