Playing through the rain in their first road game against a traditionally tough Forks team, Sequim’s Wolves overcame all of that — and some self-created adversity — to come away with a 27-13 win on Sept. 13.
Walker Ward rushed for 160 yards on 31 carries and Taig Wiker scampered for three first half scores to help lift Sequim over the 1A Spartans.
The Wolves jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first half, aided by a stout defense that stymied quarterback Carter Windle and the Spartan offense.
“We definitely started off strong,” Sequim receiver Garrett Hoesel said.
With Wiker distributing the ball and finding paydirt on scores of 4, 4 and 13 yards, the Wolves looked to be in command after two quarters.
An ugly third quarter, however, nearly turned the tied. The Wolves were penalized eight times for 95 yards in the third alone, losing defensive back/receiver Michael Young to an ejection.
Sequim later lost defensive back/receiver Hayden Eaton to a hand injury.
Further, the Wolves looked to blow the game open but two long scoring plays in the quarter — a 68-yard touchdown pass and a 95-yard kickoff return, both by Hoesel — were called back because of penalties.
“We had lots of adversity,” Sequim coach Erik Wiker said.
“It was a little frustrating … (I) just try to be as positive as I can,” Hoesel said.
The Spartans looked to take advantage, getting their first score on a Windle to Antonio Farias pass that covered 32 yards.
But it was Ward who helped spearhead a conclusive scoring drive with 5:57 left, carrying the ball seven times for 37 tough yards. Taig Wiker found a streaking Hoesel in the end zone from 24 yards out to put Sequim up 27-6.
“(Walker) did well running the ball,” Erik Wiker said. “I challenged him a little bit at halftime. He answered the call, big time.”
“My O-line blocking really hard, clearing big holes and adapting to the blitzes and just giving me the best look they could to let me power forward for every yard,” Ward said of what worked in the ground game.
Forks edged back on a second Windle-to-Farias pass with 3:54 remaining, but another set of Ward carries drained the clock for the Sequim victory.
“Our o-line, especially in the fourth quarter (did well),” Hoesel said. “(Walker) ran the best he ever has. We just pulled it out.”
Taig Wiker finished 12-of-25 for 131 yards and a touchdown, and added 64 yards on 13 carries.
Young led the team with 66 yards on three receptions. Ward and Isaiah Moore had two catches each.
Windle finished 12-of-24 for 138 yards, two TDs and three interceptions — two by Young.
Sequim held the Spartans to just 147 yards but was penalized 13 times for 155 yards.
Erik Wiker said he was impressed with how his younger players stepped in by game’s end — particularly freshmen defensive backs Moore, Brett Mote and Jonas Welch.
“On offense we hit on some cylinders but we only have one player in the same spot (since last season),” he said.
Erik Wiker said he thought Forks showed more energy than his team.
“They played with more emotion and they enjoyed it more,” he said.
Ward left the field believing his team is capable of more.
“Even though the scoreboard says a win I think we can play so much better than we have shown,” Ward said. “A lot more discipline, staying focused in on us, because I’ve seen it, we can play better than this. So focus in on us and not focus on the stuff around us. Bounce back from adversity, flags, everything.”
See more photos from the game at www.sequimgazette.com.
In a highly-anticipated match-up of two league powers, Sequim and North Kitsap face off in Poulsbo in both teams’ Olympic league openers.
After falling 14-3 to 3A Bainbridge to open the season, the Vikings beat Kamiak 28-6 on Sept. 13.
Last season, Sequim edged the reigning league champs 16-14 and went on to claim the league title while North Kitsap placed second.
Hoesel said a key to knocking off North Kitsap will be players stepping into starting spots.
“(We need) younger guys stepping up,” he said. “We may have two starting receivers out. Our o-line has to block. Everyone has to play hard. We can pull it out.”
Young, for one, will miss the game because of the third quarter ejection.
“It will be some more adversity that our team will have to overcome,” Erik Wiker said of Young, a junior. “He’s one of our better players, for sure. He had been playing really well.”
Following the North Kitsap game, Sequim travels to Belfair to take on North Mason’s Bulldogs — the Wolves’ their third road game in four weeks.
Peninsula Daily News reporter Michael Carman contributed to this report.