Sports

Football: Wolves break through, get a win

 

Friday night's Olympic league matchup between winless Sequim and postseason hopeful Klahowya turned out to be less like a prep football than a roller coaster ride.

In the end, Sequim's Wolves sent their fans and Homecoming Court home happy with a 37-32 win.

Lopaka Yasumura ran for 269 yards and three touchdowns and Jack Wiker added two touchdown throws — including the game-winner to Christian Miles with 2:05 on the clock — and Sequim (1-4 in Olympic League play, 1-6 overall) held on for its first win of the season.

"We had to do this, for Homecoming," Wiker said.

Sequim built a 31-13 lead by halftime and after a scoreless third quarter, it looked as if Klahowya (2-3 in league, 4-0 overall) would go quietly. The Eagles had other things in mind, scoring 19 points in the span of 2½ minutes, setting up a 70-yard Sequim scoring drive.

Then, it was hold-onto-your-seats time, as Klahowya quarterback Jacob Sheets engineered a 15-play, last-gasp effort that had the Eagles on the Wolves' 11-yard-line. A dropped pass on fourth down, however, ended the evening.

"We had to put everything on the line," said Yasumura, who played his last game on the Sequim High turf Friday night, his home field since he was in fifth grade.

"For me, it's one of the best feelings in the world," he said.

First-half surge

On the game's second play, Yasumura tore through the Klahowya line for a 51-yard scamper to put Sequim up 7-0. After an Eagle three-and-out, Wiker and Yasumura traded carries until a second-and-goal, when Wiker found Jody Allen in the end zone for a 12-yard toss and 13-0 Sequim lead.

The Wolves made it 19-0 with an 83-yard drive later in the first quarter, highlighted by Wiker's 4-yard plunge. Sequim led 19-0.

Klahowya rebounded with a long kickoff return that led to Sheets' 8-yard scoring carry, trimming the lead to 19-6.

After trading possessions, Sequim went up 25-6, a score that Yasumura capped with a 41-yard race to the end zone.

Sheets found Josh Ganowski for a long pass to set up Klahowya's next score, a 1-yard Latrell Simpson plunge. But Sequim responded just before halftime, grounding out a 77-yard drive that Yasumura finished with his third score of the half, an 8-yard touchdown carry, for a 31-13 lead.

Second-half shocker

Both defenses effectively gummed up a scoreless third quarter until Klahowya broke through in a big way. Sheets found Grady Bashore from 18 yards out for a touchdown with 11 minutes left, and after a Sequim fumble, Sheets found Ganowski for a touchdown and cut Sequim's lead to 31-25. 

Klahowya intercepted Wiker on the very next play and five plays later Sheets hooked up again with Bashore for a touchdown toss. Suddenly, with 8:45 remaining, Klahowya had a 32-31 lead.

The teams once again traded possessions before Sequim got one last chance, putting together a 10-play drive deep into Klahowya territory. With a fourth-and-three on Klahowya's 13-yard-line, Wiker rolled left and surveyed the Eagle defense. With Klahowya defenders bearing down, he spotted an open Miles in the end zone.

"They had been biting on me (to run)," Wiker said. "I was really nervous."
Wiker's aim was true and the Wolves took a 37-32 lead. 

Sheets, constantly scrambling from Sequim pass rushers, helped lead a long drive that saw the Eagles convert two long third downs, but his fourth-down pass with 11.6 seconds left dribbled off the hands of a receiver and to the turf.

"One of the biggest gut-checks I've seen," Sequim coach Erik WIker said. "For an 0-6 team to see a lead go away like that, it's so easy to can it. I've not seen a team overcome what this team overcame tonight in my years of coaching. It's almost like a monkey off our back."

Wiker finished 14-of-23 for 133 yards and ran for another 149 yards. Miles had seven catches for 66 yards.

Sheets was 12-of-26 for 182 yards and the three scores.

Roughriders are next

Sequim takes on cross-peninsula rival Port Angeles this week with a showdown at Civic Field on Oct. 19.

The Roughriders (0-5 in league, 0-7 overall) dropped a 41-12 decision to North Kitsap at home last week.

Last season, Sequim upended the Roughriders 27-13 on the strength of Jack Wiker's three second-half touchdowns.

The matchup is a near complete reversal of the 2010 contest that saw both teams go into the contest undefeated.

"I bill it as a bowl game, especially where we're at," Erik Wiker said. "This game (is) what kids will brag about all season. That is as big as when we were at the top."

Sequim has beaten the Riders in their last four meetings; Port Angeles last earned a win against the Wolves in 2007.

"I'm going to take it to them," Jack Wiker said.

Reach Michael Dashiell at miked@sequimgazette.com.
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