Plays of the game
Bremerton opened the second-half scoring to trim Sequim’s lead to eight points. The Wolves, fruitless on their last five drives, put together an 84-yard drive highlighted by a spectacular leaping catch from Frank Catelli and a key, third-down 37-yard catch-and-run from Drew Rickerson to Tyler Forshaw. The big plays broke open a close game, leading to the first of Sequim’s four unanswered touchdowns.
The only things keeping Sequim from scoring another Olympic League blowout were those little, yellow hankies.
The Sequim Wolves overcame more than a dozen penalties to shake off an upset-minded Bremerton squad Friday night with a 48-14 win.
Drew Rickerson threw for 326 yards and three touchdown passes while Isaac Yamamoto added 133 rushing yards and a score as Sequim improved to 2-0 in league play and 3-1 overall.
Though the Wolves won by five touchdowns, Bremerton's Knights kept it close thanks to some timely stops and plenty of help from Sequim miscues that didn't escape the eyes of referees.
After building a 14-0 lead in the first four minutes, the Wolves found a variety of offenses to bring out the yellow laundry, from false starts to holds, and on one play - a 57-yard touchdown toss from Drew Rickerson to Isaac Yamamoto - Sequim players were whistled for not one but two block-in-the-back penalties, negating the score.
Bremerton inched back to within 14-6 off a Kyle Kennedy 1-yard plunge, but Sequim responded with 27 unanswered points, shrugging off flag after flag with long runs from Yamamoto and Rickerson picking apart the Bremerton secondary.
All told, Sequim accumulated 17 penalties of 160 yards.
"We've had some bad games, but ..." Sequim coach Erik Wiker mused after the game. "I would agree with most of the calls. We've been on our receivers about blocking harder. It was almost too much aggressiveness."
That aggressiveness spilled over into the defensive corps - in a good way - as Sequim held Kennedy, Bremerton's top rusher who'd been averaging more than 200 yards per contest, to just 24 yards on 18 carries.
"(We're) proud of that," Wiker said of his team's rush defense. "We always emphasize, 'Tackle low.'"
Sequim opened the contest with a 59-yard, Rickerson-to-Joey Hall touchdown pass just 1:28 into the contest. After a three-and-out from Bremerton, a 12-yard Rickerson run and 15-yard penalty on the Knights help set up Sequim's second score. Rickerson found fullback Josh McElrath from 3 yards out and 14-0 lead.
And while Sequim's defense quietly stuffed any Bremerton offensive attack, the Wolves' own offense stalled time and again with costly mistakes. Sequim didn't score on its next four drives of the half, turning the ball over on downs three times and punting once.
Instead of a healthy lead going into the break, Sequim held a tenuous 14-0 advantage.
"We challenged our linemen to push it (at halftime)," Hall said.
Second half surge
Bremerton looked to have the momentum early in the second half, taking advantage of a Wolves turnover with a 30-yard pass from Kennedy to Dedric Harris, to the
Sequim 1-yard-line. Kennedy punched it in from there, and the Sequim lead was trimmed to 14-6.
The Wolves proceeded to drive 84 yards in seven plays, highlighted by a spectacular, leaping Frank Catelli catch down the middle of the field and a 37-yard pass from Rickerson to Tyler Forshaw. Yamamoto capped the drive with a 4-yard carry and 21-6 lead.
Sequim linebacker Preston McFarlen picked off a Kaden Tomlinson pass two possessions later and Rickerson found a streaking Hall for 29 yards to set Yamamoto's second score just one play later. Sequim took a 27-6 lead.
The Wolves opened up the fourth-quarter scoring, overcoming two potential drive-killing penalties. Yamamoto's third score with 10 minutes left gave Sequim a 34-6 lead.
Two possessions later, Chase Bigger recovered a fumbled punt on the Bremerton 22-yard-line. Rickerson found Forshaw from 18 yards out for Sequim's sixth score and a 41-6 advantage.
Bremerton breathed a bit of life late against Sequim's second-string defense, getting a 44-yard scoring run from Harris, the quick and lanky senior back.
But Forshaw put the exclamation point on the next play, taking a kickoff return 70 yards for a score.
"I ran it into the end zone and looked back - I thought there had to be flags," Forshaw joked.
The junior receiver had eight catches for 109 yards and a score, plus the kickoff return for points.
"It (the abundance of penalties) was definitely frustrating," Forshaw said. "We just had to get our heads in the game. We knew we (could) beat them."
The Bremerton game saw the return of Hall, who left a Sept. 11 contest against Meridian with a concussion. He finished with 116 yards on just three catches and a touchdown.
"I was just excited to be able to play," Hall said. "I felt back to normal."
Rickerson finished 24-of-36 passing.
Bulldogs are next
Sequim travels south to Belfair for a match-up with longtime league rival North Mason on Oct. 1.
The Bulldogs (2-0, 3-1) are coming off a 48-22 home win versus Olympic.
Sequim beat North Mason 28-13 in a muddy mess of a game in Belfair, the key victory for the Wolves' fifth league championship in six seasons.
North Mason hasn't defeated Sequim's Wolves since 2000.
Reach Michael Dashiell at email@example.com.