A pair of highlight reel plays gave Sequim a lead but Bremerton’s quick backs and offensive line proved to be too much for the Wolves in a 30-22 loss on Sept. 22.
Seeking back-to-back comeback wins, Sequim had a chance to tie the game late after Riley Cowan found Gavin Velarde for the first of his two touchdowns with 2:38 left on the clock.
Bremerton, however, was able to run out the clock and hand the Wolves (0-1, 2-2) their first league loss.
“It’s a good team but we could have beat them. We should have beat them,” Sequim coach Erik Wiker said.
“They have a nice package; they have a guy who can throw, athletes that can run and block,” he said. “They run a nice scheme and keep running it.”
And run the Knights did, to the tune of 361 yards on the ground. Led by senior halfback Semaj Cook, the Knights racked up 21 first downs and out-gained Sequim overall 471-168 in total yardage.
It was the Wolves, however, who held a 14-10 lead at halftime, thanks to a 29-yard Cowan-to-Kyler Rollness touchdown pass and a 60-yard Velarde interception return for a score.
In the end the Knights had the advantage on the offensive line, and made up for several first half mishaps — a fumbled field goal try, a missed field goal, a blocked punt and seven penalties for 70 yards — to take control in the second half.
In the final 24 minutes, Bremerton ran 37 plays — 35 of them rushing attempts.
The Wolves were hampered by injuries at some key positions that forced them to use freshmen on the left side of the line.
“That was a big advantage for them,” Wiker said. “That’s where we are thinnest.”
Bremerton took the lead for good on a 35-yard Brock Criss scamper in the third quarter.
Cook added a pair of short touchdown runs and despite a missed point-after, the Knights’ lead looked secure at 30-14 with 4:08 on the clock.
Sequim made it interesting after Cowan found Nate Despain for a 43-yard pass play, and three plays later connected with Velarde for a score. The Wolves added a two-point play to cut the lead to 30-22.
Sequim recovered the ensuing onside kick, but Bremerton freshman Kelo Logova snagged an errant Cowan pass — Logova’s second interception of the night — and the Knights were able to run out the clock.
“To be able to score, get it back and still be in it in high school football is tough,” Wiker said. “It shows a lot of character there.”
The Sequim coach had high praise for Despain, who made several key tackles on Bremerton sweeps and has solidified the Wolves’ secondary.
“(Despain) is a great kid; right now he’s the defensive MVP,” Wiker said. “He’s got a nose for the ball.”
Wiker also said Sequim got solid contributions from a trio of ninth-graders: Michael Young, Taig Wiker and Brandon Barnett.
“They all stepped up and played a pretty good game,” he said.
Cowan finished 12-of-28 passing for 168 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Velarde had five catches for 72 yards and a score.
Sequim is at league-leading North Kitsap on Sept. 29. The Vikings knocked off the Wolves 42-7 in 2016 — Sequim’s lone league defeat — en route to a league championship.
North Kitsap, last season’s Olympic League champions, “might be better this year,” Wiker said.
Last week, the Vikings crushed Olympic, 49-6.