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Playoff teams can make other playoff teams look bad in a hurry.
On Saturday night in Sequim, it took Meridian about 20 minutes to show why they're one of the top 1A teams in the state.
Meridian quarterback Zackary Slesk shrugged off three first-half interceptions to throw for 352 yards and five touchdowns as the Trojans routed Sequim 55-16 on Sept. 11, the Wolves' 2010 home opener.
For their part, the Wolves didn't do themselves any favors, throwing four interceptions of their own, having two touchdowns negated by penalties, failing to recover any of three key fumbles and converting just one of 13 third-down attempts.
"There (are) a lot of ... very silly things we killed ourselves on,"
Sequim coach Erik Wiker said.
"(This game) is a lot closer if we fix half of those mistakes."
The 39-point setback is the largest home loss since 2002 - a 48-8 loss to Eatonville - and the largest margin of defeat under Wiker since a 51-0 loss at Bainbridge in 2005. (That 2005 Sequim team went 9-1 and came within a point of advancing to the class 3A state tournament.)
Sequim looks to regroup this week with the curt, two-game nonleague schedule completed and Klahowya coming to town Friday night.
Despite being in different classifications and never meeting before this contest, Meridian and Sequim looked like familiar league foes ready to slug it out for the opening whistle.
Meridian scored first as Slesk found teammate Tait Slesk for a 15-yard score on third-and-goal, set up by a Mitchell Tripp interception to the Wolves' 4-yard-line.
After a Sequim punt, Zac Slesk fired a pass over the middle that Sequim's Chris Falkey snagged and raced 16 yards for a touchdown. A two-point conversion gave the Wolves an 8-7 lead, one that would disappear quickly.
Meridian responded with 20 unanswered points to close the half, with Zac Slesk finding Tripp for a score from 25 yards out, then Drake VanderYacht from 21 yards away, and finally capped by Jordan Warren's nine yard touchdown scamper.
By halftime, Meridian had racked up 222 passing yards and nearly 300 total yards from scrimmage, while Sequim had as many penalties as first downs (three) and zero third-down conversions.
Adding injury to insult was a hit to Sequim safety Joey Hall, who took a clean hit to the upper body and suffered a concussion. He was taken from the field to Olympic Memorial Hospital.
"I blacked out for a bit," Hall said following the game, noting that even though he was cleared to play by doctors, he plans to sit out the next game.
The Wolves looked to rebound quickly after the disappointing first half, as junior Tyler Forshaw raced 90 yards on the initial kickoff for a touchdown. But a block-in-the-back call about 20 yards away from the play negated the score and five plays later Trojan Richard Appel picked off a Sequim pass near the goal line.
Zac Slesk made Sequim pay two plays after that, slipping a pass to Tripp, who raced 91 yards to the end zone and a 35-8 Meridian lead.
Another Trojan interception on the next play from scrimmage effectively ended any thoughts of a Sequim comeback.
A nimble Zac Slesk added a score for the highlight reel as he avoided a slew of tacklers and fired a strike to an open Tait Slesk in the end zone for a 15-yard score and 42-8 lead.
Sequim's Frank Catelli scored on a two-yard plunge to close the gap slightly.
Sequim starting quarterback Drew Rickerson said Meridian looked good on both sides of the ball.
"They had the energy most of the game," he said. "We knew they were good, that they were polished. This is a wake-up call."
Wiker said several Wolves had solid games, particularly Catelli, Preston McFarlen and Forshaw, who had a pair of long kick returns.
"That was playing with some heart," Wiker said of Forshaw's effort.
Sequim finished with 242 total yards - 128 through the air and 114 on the ground. Catelli led all rushers with 78 yards on eight carries.
Meridian was eight-of-13 on third-down situations, had 18 first downs and racked up 545 total yards.
Eagles are up next
The Wolves are back at home next weekend to face the Klahowya Eagles from Silverdale to open Olympic League play.
Klahowya (0-2) is coming off a 67-14 loss to Chimacum in week two.
Wiker said he expects his team to respond well.
"This is a playoff team; we'll win a lot of games," Wiker said. "These guys, they're young. When we win, they're happy. They don't realize hard work is what got us here."
Sequim has dominated the series against Klahowya, winning 10 of 11 contests since the schools first battled in 2001.
In 2009, the Wolves routed the Eagles 47-0 in Silverdale, with Rickerson passing for 157 yards and four touchdown passes.
Reach Michael Dashiell at firstname.lastname@example.org.