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by MICHAEL DASHIELL
It’s a notch in the win column, but as Sequim coach Erik Wiker admitted to his team soon afterward, this one felt like a loss.
The No. 7-ranked Sequim Wolves (4-0) racked up five touchdowns in seven first-half possessions in a 34-6 win Friday night, marred by injuries, a key ejection and some extracurricular activity after whistles blew.
“Dirtiest team I’ve played in a long time,” Sequim coach Erik Wiker said. “It was hard for our kids to stay focused.”
Three Sequim players left the game with injuries, including two with apparent concussions. Receiver Christian Miles and running back Kenny Henning were taken away in ambulances and tailback/line-
backer Lopaka Yasumura left the contest with an apparent rib injury.
“I hate it when kids get sick; I get sick to my stomach,” Wiker said.
Sequim quarterback Frank Catelli riddled the Bremerton defense via Sequim’s precision spread offense, throwing for 245 yards and a touchdown, and running for another score.
But his evening was abruptly stopped about three minutes into the third quarter when, according to coaches and a video replay from a parent’s camera, a Bremerton player twice threw punches at the Sequim senior through his face mask.
Catelli reacted with a kicking motion that referees spotted. Catelli was ejected.
Wiker said that means his senior is out for the next game. Appeals are allowed, he said, but noted that referee judgment calls are not overturned.
Dominant first half
Sequim opened with a nine-play, 48-yard drive cap-ped by Jack Wiker’s diving, 12-yard touchdown plunge.
After stuffing Bremerton quarterback Michael Lawrence on the Knights’ first drive, the Wolves needed just five plays for their second score, a 14-yard Catelli scamper, to go up 14-0. After trading possessions, Catelli put Sequim up 21-0 when he found Michael Ballard over the middle for a 20-yard touchdown pass. Ballard actually fumbled on the play, but recovered the ball for the score.
“Michael Ballard was player of the game,” Erik Wiker said. “He had a great game on offense, defense and special teams.”
A 33-yard pass play from Catelli to Tyler Forshaw highlighted Sequim’s next scoring drive, capped by Wiker’s 4-yard touchdown run.
Catelli hooked up with Wiker through the air with only 22 seconds left in the first half for the 34-0 Sequim advantage.
Rough second half
Sequim gave up a pair of first downs to start the third quarter but eventually forced a punt. Catelli ran a quarterback keeper on Sequim’s next offensive play and that’s when things got ugly. Sequim coaches insisted the Bremerton player struck Catelli first, but the referees explained they only caught the final moments of the incident and after a 14-minute delay they ejected the Sequim QB.
“I saw (the incident) on film and I saw it live,” Erik Wiker said.
Playing in place of Catelli, Jack Wiker moved the ball with some efficiency but the Knights’ defense held tough at times, shutting out Sequim in the second half.
Penalties didn’t help
Sequim’s cause either, as the Wolves racked up eight flags for 70 yards. (Bremerton saw seven flags for 85 yards.)
“It takes away from the pace of the game; penalties just slow down everything,” Erik Wiker said.
Sequim’s defense, missing two of their middle linebackers in Catelli and Yasumura, also held tough and got three key interceptions from Forshaw and another by Nick Ramirez.
Only a 13-play, 62-yard Bremerton drive helped in part by two Sequim penalties negated a shutout; Lawrence scored on a six-yard run.
Jack Wiker finished 6-of-13 passing for 54 yards, 17 yards rushing and two scores, and another 38 yards receiving.
Ballard and Forshaw led Sequim with 89 yards receiving each; Ramirez added 82 yards receiving.
Lawrence was 14-of-37 for 164 yards and four interceptions.
“We were tougher, offensively and defensively,” Ramirez said. “They were taking some cheap shots, but that’s football.”
Bulldogs pay a visit
Up next week for Sequim is an old, familiar rival, North Mason.
The Bulldogs (0-2 in league play, 0-4 overall) are coming off a 27-20 loss at Olympic on Friday night.
“(Since we’re defending league champs), they are coming for us,” Jack Wiker said.
Sequim beat North Mason on the road 49-20 last season.
The Wolves have won the last 11 meetings against North Mason and haven’t lost to the Bulldogs since the 2000 season.
“We’ve got to play like people aren’t injured,” Ramirez said.
Coach Erik Wiker is 8-0 against North Mason.
He’ll go into this week’s game with his son at quarterback, making his first start.
“Jack’s shown he can run the stuff,” Erik Wiker said.
Reach Michael Dashiell at firstname.lastname@example.org.