It didn’t come easy, but Sequim’s Wolves once again rule the Rainshadow.
Senior Hayden Gresli ran for 97 yards and two touchdowns and Riley Cowan added two scores — one rushing, one passing — as Sequim overcame some mistakes and a pesky Roughrider squad to knock off host Port Angles 29-14 on Oct. 21, the latest installment of the so-called Rainshadow Rumble.
More importantly for the Wolves (3-2 in Olympic League play, 5-3 overall), the win locks up the Olympic League’s No. 3 seed behind North Kitsap and Bremerton to the West Central District playoffs.
“It’s amazing, every win against PA is great but especially as a senior,” SHS lineman Mason Larsen said following Sequim’s win over their cross-peninsula rival.
Regardless of the outcome of next week’s home game against winless Kingston, Sequim will play Nov. 3 or 4 on the road against the South Puget Sound League’s No. 2 team. The winner of that game earns the district’s No. 2 seed to the state 2A tournament.
The Wolves, who came in averaging about 73 yards per game on the ground, racked up 200 against their rivals from Port Angeles.
“We’re just trying to take advantage of the way they lined up,” Sequim coach Erik Wiker said. “We weren’t trying to pound them (but rather) out-scheme them.”
Last week against the Roughriders (2-3, 3-5), Sequim jumped out to a 16-0 lead after one quarter and added a third unanswered score in the second.
Gresli opened the scoring, blasting through the Rider defense for a 15-yard score a little more than four minutes into the contest.
After stumping Port Angeles for a second consecutive possession to start the game, Sequim made it 16-0 with a seven-play, 64-yard drive Cowan capped with a one-yard run.
The Wolves added another scoring drive in the first half, one that took 15 plays to drive 50 yards thanks to five penalties between the squads. Finally, Cowan found Kyler Rollness on a 23-yard screen play that found the end zone.
The Roughriders, behind an opportunistic offense spurred by quarterback Easton Joslin, got a touchdown in the first half’s waning moments. He connected with lanky receiver Garrett Edwards from six yards out to trim Sequim’s lead to 22-6.
After a scoreless third quarter, Joslin connected with Jake Allen on a fourth down play to close the gap to 22-14.
Sequim responded, however, with a six-play drive on a shortened field — thanks to one of Port Angeles’ nine penalties — capped by Gresli’s three-yard plunge.
The score helped Gresli rebound from a fumble on the previous possession.
“That (score) felt good,” said Gresli. “I just wanted to hit them in the mouth and make sure I hit the holes (in the line).”
After a Rollness interception — Sequim’s second of the night, the other coming from Gavin Velarde — the Wolves ran out the remaining 5:19.
Sequim’s defense held Port Angeles to just 128 total yards, less than 30 of that on the ground. Sequim allowed just one rush of more than 10 yards, and three of more than five yards.
“The defense played solid — that’s what kept us in the game,” Wiker said.
“We always pride ourselves on defending the pass and the rush,” Larsen said but noted the Wolves really wanted to crack down on Riders’ ground attack.
Larsen credited Sequim’s junior varsity squad for mirroring Port Angeles offense during the week of practice leading up to Friday’s match-up.
“Our JV really killed it, got us hyped for the game,” Larsen said.
Sequim has now won 10 of the past 14 meetings versus Port Angeles since their rivalry was renewed in 2004.
Sequim caps the regular season with a home date against Kingston (0-5, 0-8).
Last week, the Buccaneers dropped a 49-0 decision at home to Bremerton.
In 2016, Sequim routed Kingston 37-17 as SHS’s Cowan threw for 341 yards and five touchdowns.