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Sequim’s Wolves still reign
by MICHAEL DASHIELL
The Sequim Wolves needed a little help winning their seventh outright league championship in eight years.
They got it.
On Thursday night, Kingston knocked off North Kitsap and opened the door for Sequim, who got four second-half touchdowns to defeat peninsula rival Port Angeles 27-14 Friday evening.
Quarterback Jack Wiker ran for three touchdowns to help the Wolves turn a 7-0 halftime deficit into an Olympic League title.
After sitting out the first half because of what head coach Erik Wiker called “internal team discipline,” Jack Wiker sparked an offense that scored on its first three possessions, all quarterback scrambles for scores.
Port Angeles got within 19-14 when Dylan Brewer took a fullback dive 50 yards for a touchdown with 7:32 remaining, but a 73-yard Christian Miles kick return set up Sequim’s final score, a 12-yard scamper by Lopaka Yasumura.
“(We came out) making offensive adjustments,” Erik Wiker said. “We came out fired up (and) Jack made a little bit of a difference,” the Sequim coach joked. “He could run everything we wanted to run.”
A junior playing in place of injured starter Frank Catelli, Jack Wiker said he felt sure Sequim was going to win the second Rainshadow Rumble trophy, the honorary prize of the annual Sequim-Port Angeles game.
“I knew when we got on the field, I knew they couldn’t stop us,” Jack Wiker said.
He noted that several teammates were watching and waiting to see what would happen the night before, when Kingston managed to upend North Kitsap and give Sequim a shot at the league’s top seed heading into playoff crossover games on Nov. 5.
“After (seeing) that, it was go time,” Jack Wiker said.
A rough start, fine finish
Playing under cold and wet conditions, both teams struggled to move the ball thanks to some revamped lineups.
Port Angeles, missing three key starters and seeing Keenen Walker, their starting QB, play tailback and receiver because of a broken forearm, went with a running attack. By the end of the game, Port Angeles had racked up 52 running plays to just three pass attempts.
Sequim’s defense held the Roughriders out of the end zone until 5:47 was left in the first half, when the Wolves fumbled on their own 4-yard-line and Brewer took it in two plays later.
On the other side of the ball, Sequim’s offense struggled mightily with holding on to the ball and finding any kind of rhythm, minus their top two quarterbacks.
Port Angeles outgained Sequim in yardage (128-57) and first downs (8-4), but three turnovers each kept the score 7-0 Port Angeles at half.
“We knew we could come back,” Yasumura said. “Everybody on this team has heart. We come together at the hardest times.”
Enter Jack Wiker. With a noticeably quickened pace to the offense, Sequim drove downfield in a hurry three consecutive trips, as Wiker gashed the Roughriders with quick outs to receivers Miles and Tyler Forshaw or screens to Yasumura. Wiker capped a 10-play, 59-yard drive with a 1-yard plunge to knot the score at 7-7.
After forcing a turnover on downs, Sequim came back with a 12-play, 69-yard campaign highlighted by Wiker’s 3-yard plunge, giving Sequim a 13-7 lead.
After forcing a Port Angeles three-and-out, Sequim raced 52 yards in just five plays, the final an 11-yard Wiker touchdown jaunt. The Wolves held a 19-7 lead.
After trading possessions, the Roughriders closed the gap with Brewer’s fullback dive that went 50 yards. Miles’ kickoff return, however, and an ensuing Yasumura score, sealed the victory.
“No way we were going to lose this game,” said Tyler Forshaw, Sequim senior wide receiver and defensive back. “We just stepped up to the challenge.”
Yasumura finished with 82 yards rushing while Wiker racked up another 80 yards. Wiker was 9-of-14 passing for 73 yards.
Brewer finished with 38 carries for 193 yards and the two scores. Walker had 52 yards on the ground.
Port Angeles wound up running 55 plays from scrimmage, 52 of those on the ground. All three of their pass attempts were intercepted.
Cruisers in the crosshairs
It will be a familiar foe standing between the Wolves and their sixth-consecutive state playoff berth.
The No. 4-seeded Eatonville Cruisers (3-4 in South Puget Sound League play, 4-5 overall) come into the contest with two wins in their previous three games, including a 20-14 win at Fife on Oct. 28.
The Sequim-Eatonville all-time series is tied at three wins apiece, with Sequim winning each of the previous three meetings. In 2009, the Wolves clobbered Eatonville 41-6.
Saturday’s game time is 7 p.m.
Jack Wiker said one of Sequim’s keys to playoff success is getting teammates healthy. That includes Catelli, the senior quarterback who sat out half of the Oct. 22 North Kitsap game and all of Friday’s contest with a hip flexor injury.
Erik Wiker said Catelli’s injury status for Saturday’s game against Eatonville is “wait and see.”
With the loss last week at Sequim, Port Angeles slipped to the league’s fourth seed and played a district play-in game against Interlake on Nov. 1.
Kingston takes the No. 2 seed and will play Steilacoom, the SPSL’s No. 3 seed, at 4:30 p.m. in Poulsbo on Nov. 5, just before the Sequim-Eatonville game.
North Kitsap, which dropped from the league’s top seed to third place with a loss to Kingston, plays Lindbergh on Nov. 5 in Renton.
Reach Michael Dashiell at firstname.lastname@example.org.