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Football: Young Wolves are off and running
Back to the basics.
Sequim coach Erik Wiker and staff are simultaneously in a brand new preseason situation and a familiar one. On one hand, the Wolves haven’t had a losing season in more than a decade — longer than Wiker’s head coaching tenure. On the other, teams such as Wiker’s 2007 squad had few returning players and were not expected to compete for the league title. That year, after a 1-2 start, the Wolves reeled off seven straight wins and nearly knocked off highly ranked Tumwater.
This year? More than two-thirds of the Wolves’ 65-man roster are freshmen or sophomores. Few of the returning juniors and seniors have significant game experience.
But Wiker is optimistic.
“The talent pool is good,” Wiker says, as the Wolves go through preseason drills at the SHS practice fields last week. “A lot of it (with the younger players) is making sure we teach the basics. The first thing, especially after last year, is stay positive.”
Last season, the Wolves suffered through a six-game losing streak to open the season, knocked off Klahowya and Port Angeles, and ended on a sour note in a loss to North Mason.
The campaign was a steep drop for a team used to sitting atop the Olympic League, including seven titles in eight seasons.
“It was a perfect storm,” Wiker says. “Attitude was part of it and we had injuries. We did not take care of the things we could control.
“Last year was the only year we underachieved.”
Sequim lost 14 players to graduation in June, including captains Jack Wiker (QB), Jon Donahue (WR, S), Christian Miles (WR, DB) and Lopaka Yasumura (RB, LB), plus all-league second team defensive lineman Jared McMinn.
But all-league first team lineman Al Serrano — at 6 foot 3 inches and 275 pounds by last year’s roster numbers, affectionately called “Big Al” — is back to anchor a young offensive and defensive line.
Also back is wide receiver/defensive back Brett Wright, who tallied 42 tackles on defense and eight catches for 127 yards on offense, and Josiah Anastasi, who had 13 receptions, tied for third on the team.
Wiker looks to junior Miguel Moroles at quarterback. Moroles saw action in two games as Jack Wiker’s backup before an injury sidelined him for much of the 2012 campaign. Moroles was 16-of-31 for 195 yards and one interception in two games.
With the change in quarterback and a young offensive line, Wiker says the Wolves may run a bit more in a two back set, but the personnel still dictates Sequim sticks with the spread-style offense.
Among the newcomers who expect to make significant impacts early include all-purpose back Arnold Black, defensive back Nathan Henning, safety Ty Jones, running back Adam Knapman, linebacker Nate Nelson and linebacker Chris Whittaker.
Wiker expects Kingston’s Buccaneers, 5-2 in last season’s Olympic League and returning a senior-heavy squad in 2013, to possibly be the class of the Olympic League this fall.
Bremerton, last year’s league champs, saw a slew of top players graduate in June, Wiker says, opening the door for teams like Kingston, North Kitsap and his own Wolves to challenge for a top league spot.
The Wolves play six of their nine games at home this season, a fortuitous schedule after playing six road games in 2012.
Sequim opens the season Sept. 7 with New Westminster Secondary School out of New Westminster, B.C.
Sequim hasn’t played a team from Canada since 1978 (Vancouver College, a prep school in Vancouver, B.C.). Following that, Sequim looks to avenge a 34-0 loss to River Ridge when the Hawks from Lacey visit Sequim on Sept. 14.
“I always have extra-high expectations,” Wiker says of his youthful 2013 Wolves squad.
“They will play hard. They will play together and play to their potential.”
Reach Michael Dashiell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SHS Football — 2013 season schedule
Sept. 6 — New Westminster at Sequim, 5:30 p.m. (NEW TIME)
Notes: First meeting between teams ... NW was without football for 25 years (1977-2005) ... mascot is the Hyack
Sept. 13 — River Ridge at Sequim, 7 p.m.
Notes: River Ridge topped Sequim 34-0 in 2012 in first meeting between schools ... River Ridge went 5-4 last season
Sept. 20 — Bremerton at Sequim, 7 p.m.
Notes: Bremerton beat Sequim 21-6 in 2012 on way to a 7-0 mark and league title ... Knights lead all-time series 7-6
Sept. 27 — Sequim at North Kitsap, 7 p.m.
Notes: Vikings topped SHS 40-17 last season, went 5-2 in league ... NK leads all-timer series 30-11 (two ties)
Oct. 4 — Olympic at Sequim, 7 p.m.
Notes: Olympic edged Sequim 13-7 in 2012 ... Trojans have won 12 of 15 meetings since series started in 1979
Oct. 11 — Sequim at Kingston, 7 p.m.
Notes: Bucs beat Sequim 47-28 in 2012 for first win against Wolves ... Sequim won previous five meetings by combined score of 239-54 ... Kingston was 5-2 in Olympic League last fall
Oct. 18 — Sequim at Klahowya, 7 p.m.
Notes: Sequim topped Klahowya 37-32 for first win of 2012, snapping six-game slide ... SHS leads series, 13-1
Oct. 25 — Port Angeles at Sequim, 7 p.m.
Notes: Wolves knocked off rival Riders 34-7 at P.A.’s Civic Field in 2012 ... SHS hasn’t lost to Port Angeles since 2007 ... rivalry goes back to 1928 ... P.A. leads series 50-20 (six ties)
Nov. 1 — North Mason at Sequim, 7 p.m.
Notes: Bulldogs beat Sequim 28-6 in season finale in 2012, snapping 12-game slide at hands of Wolves ... Sequim leads all-time series 23-8 (one tie)