With relatively low numbers and some expected returners moving out of the area, players on Sequim High’s 2021 football squad are going to have to be versatile this fall.
“I think its going to be a group effort,” SHS head coach Erik Wiker said, taking a brief break from overseeing a preseason practice last week. “We might have a lot of people play a little out of position to have a team.”
That may be no more evident than Wiker’s own son Lars, who as a ninth-grader last year split some time at quarterback with varsity starter Kobe Applegate.
This year? The sophomore Wiker may start at center and line up at defensive end, middle linebacker and fullback, or share in QB responsibilities.
And while the youngster has the physical capability to do those jobs, the SHS coach notes, “Intelligence has a lot to do with it.”
In the strangest of strange prep seasons — just a few months ago, thanks to COVID regulations and season postponements — the class 2A Wolves posted a 3-2 mark, knocking off three schools (Central Kitsap, Bainbridge and South Kitsap) in large classifications while falling to two (North Kitsap, Olympic) in their own class.
Graduation took its toll on this year’s team, including all-Olympic League first-teamers Walker Ward, Garret Hoesel Michael Young and Isaiah Cowan, stalwarts Caleb Pozernick, Brandon Barnett, Truman Nestor and Austin Newton, and quarterback/linebacker Taig Wiker, who helped Sequim rout CK 38-22 in last season’s finale.
The families of two starting sophomore receivers moved from the area, Erik Wiker noted, so the roster will see some mixing and matching to fill specific roles.
“We’ve got to rely on the team,” he said.
That includes a big influx of freshmen, a “good problem to have,” Wiker notes as he considers about a third of the Wolves’ 40-man roster are ninth-graders. None of them got to see live football action last school year, as middle school sports were canceled across the board.
Applegate is one of a handful of returning quarterbacks who has started a state tournament football game, after getting the start at Lakewood in November 2019. Applegate also started four of five games for Sequim during the condensed season earlier this year.
“Kobe provides energy and leadership,” Wiker said. “He’s excited to play his senior year, and he’s a charismatic kid who is experienced. Kids respect grade level and experience, and he started three or four games last season and three or four the year before, so he has a lot of starting experience.”
Along with Applegate and Lars Wiker, the Wolves get back junior Isaiah Moore, an all-league receiver, and senior lineman Beau Halverson, along with senior receiver/cornerback/kicker Brandon Wagner. Senior Pryce Glasser could see some time on the offensive line too, Wiker said.
Sequim should get bolstered on both sides of the ball from transfer Aiden Gockerell, who Wiker said could line up at various positions.
“He’s going to make an impact everywhere,” Wiker said.
Wiker said coaching staff have been busy in the weeks leading up to school trying to get student-athletes eligible for week one — a Sept. 3 match-up with 1A Forks.
As for hopes for the season?
“Some kind of normality,” Wiker said. “They haven’t been to school (full-time) for a year-and-a-half.”
The Wolves open up their home schedule at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10, against Squalicum, a non-league contest, before hosting Port Angeles on Sept. 17; game time is 6:30 p.m.
Olympic Peninsula News Group reporter Michael Carman contributed to this story.