The game mattered little in the postseason picture, but Sequim’s Wolves weren’t about to take it easy on winless Kingston Friday night.
Senior Gavin Velarde racked up four touchdowns — three through the air and a fourth on a pick-six interception — as the Wolves (4-2 in Olympic League play, 6-3 overall) romped to a 48-6 victory over the visiting Buccaneers on Oct. 28.
The win firmly puts Sequim in third place in the Olympic League and sets up a district playoff game at Fife (7-0, 8-1) on Friday, Nov. 3.
The winner of that game gets the district’s No. 2 seed to the state 2A tournament.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Velarde, Sequim High’s all-time school leader in every receiving category and last year’s Olympic League MVP who played his final game on the SHS field Friday.
The defensive back and receiver battled through injuries each of the past two seasons, and said he’s looking forward to the playoffs.
“I just want to go out with my team,” he said. “It’s amazing what we went through this season — it’s been crazy. I love this team.”
On Friday night only a few Sequim miscues and a stubborn Kingston squad kept it close in the first half — although Velarde and Sequim quarterback Riley Cowan kicked things off in a big way. Cowan found a streaking Velarde for 65 yards and a score just 1:43 into the game, and Sequim converted a two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead.
Kingston mustered its best drive late in the first quarter, driving to the Wolves’1-yard-line before Sequim made a goal-line stand. Three plays after getting possession, Cowan found Velarde once again, this time for a short slant that went 85 yards for a score and 16-0 Sequim lead.
While the Bucs’ offense chewed up the clock with their short run game, the Bucs capitalized on Sequim errors — a penalty negated a Velarde interception for a score, and Kingston also forced a fumble in the second quarter — to keep it a 16-point deficit going into halftime.
It wouldn’t last.
The Wolves scored on four of their next five possessions to blow it open. Velarde capped a six-play, 64-yard drive to open the third quarter with a 24-yard TD catch from Cowan.
A big punt return by Velarde set up another touchdown in the third quarter, with Cowan taking it himself from eight yards out and a 32-0 lead.
Kingston got their big highlight with 4:11 remaining, as defensive back William Dixon took a backward pass that slipped to the turf and raced 85 yards to pay-dirt and closed the gap briefly to 32-6.
Sequim came back in a big way, however, driving 54 yards in six plays. Chris Puksta capped the drive with a 22-yard touchdown run as Sequim took a 38-6 advantage.
Puksta said he didn’t play football until his sophomore year.
“I know I’m not the best player but it doesn’t hurt to go out and help the team,” he said.
“Our offensive line had some great blocks (tonight),” he said.
Velarde got his fourth score of the night on the ensuing possession, stepping in front of Kingston quarterback Kanikki Hale’s pass and racing 75 yards for a touchdown.
The Wolves capped the scoring with 6:05 left in the game with Byron Rice’s 33-yard field goal.
Rice also drew praise from the squad earlier in the game when the right-footed kicker converted a point-after-touchdown with his left foot.
Velarde finished with six catches for 215 yards and the three scores. Cowan was 11-of-16 for 281 yards passing.
Sequim held Kingston to just two first downs in the second half.
Sequim now matches up against the Fife Trojans, The South Puget Sound League’s Mountain Division champions.
Fife’s lone loss came to Steilacoom last week, a 52-27 defeat.
Sequim hasn’t played Fife since the teams battled each other in the Nisqually League, with the Wolves winning games in 2008 and 2009.
Fife holds the all-time advantage in the series (9-4) since their first match-up in 1980.
“As long as we focus and execute we can do really well,” Puksta said of Sequim’s playoff chances.