Prep sports: Cowan (MVP) leads Wolves’ fall season honors

Sequim’s quarterback, kicker, punter and occasional defensive back capped his senior season with a state playoff berth and a big postseason honor.

Fourth-year starter Riley Cowan was named Olympic League MVP after amassing 2,018 passing yards to go with 25 touchdowns and just nine interceptions, leading the Wolves to a 9-2 mark and a league championship.

Cowan, a senior who had four games with four touchdown passes to go with 410 rushing yards and five scores as his team’s second-leading rusher, was named an all-league first team quarterback as a sophomore and junior.

Cowan broke Drew Rickerson’s previous all-time passing yardage (4,731) and career passing touchdown records (45) for Sequim this season, finishing his career with 6,845 yards passing and 64 TD passes. He also kicked 18-of-20 point-after attempts and hit four field goals, including connecting on all three in a key league win over North Kitsap.

“He definitely deserved it,” Sequim head coach Erik Wiker said, noting that despite Sequim’s balanced attack Cowan was charged with copious on-field decisions. “It’s nice to have an offensive coordinator on the field.”

Teammates Taig Wiker and Johnnie Young were named to the all-league first team on both sides of the ball, as nine different Sequim players picked up all-league honors this fall.

The Wolves had seven total all-league first team honors: three on offense, three on defense and one on special teams.

Taig Wiker, a sophomore, was named first team running back after racking up 1,509 yards and 12 touchdowns on 198 carries, more than all other Sequim rushers combined. He also had 34 receptions for 354 yards and five scores. Wiker’s season included a 258-yard rushing game against Olympic and a 180-yard game against Hoquiam.

Erik Wiker said the all-league back got plenty of yardage by simply running smart, putting his shoulder down when contact was coming and getting an extra three, five, eight yards.

“You don’t teach savvy,” the Sequim coach said. “(Taig) has good spatial awareness. And he improved a bunch … from the start to mid-year.”

Kyler Rollness, a senior, was named a first team receiver after catching 53 passes for 837 yards and 11 touchdowns — all team-highs.

Young, a senior, was selected an all-league first team lineman, helping the Wolves rush for 198 yards per game and 395 total yards per contest.

SHS sophomore Brandon Barnett was selected a first team long snapper. Rollness was named to the all-league second team as a kick returner.

Earning second team all-league honors on offense were Sequim receiver Michael Young (28 catches, 431 yards, five touchdowns) and Barnett for his efforts on the offensive line.

On the defensive side, Sequim amasses five all-league awards. Earning first-team honors were Wiker (secondary), Johnnie Young (linebacker) and defensive lineman Ben Cowan, a senior. Sequim sophomore linebacker Lane Mote and senior defensive back Joey Oliver were named to the second team.

Port Angeles had one player named to the all-league first team, and he was selected twice: PAHS junior Anton Kathol was named as a linebacker and a punter. The Roughriders saw three others named to the all-league second team.

Other top Olympic League honors went to: Isaiah Kahana, North Kitsap senior running back, Offensive MVP; McCoy Retome, Bremerton senior linebacker, Defensive MVP, and Sportsmanship, North Mason.

Volleyball

Despite coming up a win short of the state tourney, Sequim’s Wolves earned some postseason honors from league coaches — including Tayler Breckenridge, who was selected to the all-Olympic League first team.

Breckenridge, a senior outside hitter, led the Wolves with 293 kills and 374 digs. She was second on the team with 34 aces and third with 23 blocks.

Teammate Kalli Wiker, a sophomore setter, led Sequim with 307 assists, 39 aces and a .975 serving percentage (307-of-315).

Sequim coach Jennie Weber Heilman selected Isabelle Dennis and Jayla Julmist as honorable mentions. Dennis, a senior libero, had 368 digs and a.951 serving percentage, both second on the team. Julmist, a sophomore middle hitter, chipped in a team-high 79 blocks to go with 113 kills (second) and 32 aces (third).

The league MVP award went to Kingston senior outside hitter Ava McCabe while the Defensive Player of the Year went to North Mason libero Rebekah Fredrickson, a junior.

North Kitsap had three players named to the all-league first team.

Girls soccer

Two key players from Sequim’s record-setting girls soccer squad earned some postseason accolades.

Junior defenseman Gabby Happe was named to the All-Olympic League first team while goalkeeper Olivia Hare was picked for the second team following a season that saw the Wolves earn a West Central District championship and their first state playoff appearance.

Happe and Hare led a Sequim defense that gave up just six goals in the team’s final eight games — including a pair of 1-0 shutouts against rival North Kitsap.

Goalkeeper Sophia Pixon of North Kitsap was named league MVP, one of seven Vikings selected to the all-league team. Kingston took home the league’s Sportsmanship Award.

Cross country

Thanks to their top-10 finished at the league final in Port Townsend on Oct. 18, a trio of Wolves were named to the All-Olympic League Cross Country team this fall.

League champ Murray Bingham is joined by fellow Sequim senior Liam Byrne, who placed 10th at league, on the team.

The lone Wolf on the all-league girls team is freshman Riley Pyeatt, who placed fifth at the league final.

Bingham and Pyeatt both finished 13th at the class 2A state cross country championships in Pasco on Nov. 3.

Fall sports notes

According to statistics from the SHS athletic department, 221 athletes turned out for fall sports at Sequim High school — 125 girls and 96 boys. Their combined grade-point-average was 3.18.

The fifth-biggest (or third-smallest) of the seven teams in the Olympic League, Sequim produced two district champions (boys tennis, girls soccer), one league champ (football) two league runner-ups (volleyball, boys tennis), one third place team (girls swimming) and three fourth-place finishers (boys and girls cross country, girls soccer).

Each SHS program produced a district-qualifying team or individual, and six teams — football, girls soccer, boys tennis, boys cross country and girls cross country — produced state qualifiers.

At the middle school level, the Timberwolves saw 126 athletes compete in three fall sports: football, volleyball and cross country.

SMS’s volleyball squad had a combined 3.96 grade-point average. The cross country team had a 3.92 GPA and football team a 3.56 GPA.

SMS’s football team placed second in league with a 5-1 mark (including wins over rivals Port Angeles and Forks) while the boys’ cross country squad took fourth place in a competitive league final.

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