Football: Bremerton edges Sequim in thriller

On Thursday night, Sequim was hoping for a victory and to add extra time to their season. The Wolves got the extra time, but not in the way they intended.

The Bremerton defense swarms to tackle Sequim running back Brandon Stamper in the first half of Sequim's 14-13 loss on Oct. 30.

The Bremerton defense swarms to tackle Sequim running back Brandon Stamper in the first half of Sequim's 14-13 loss on Oct. 30.

On Thursday night, Sequim was hoping for a victory and to add extra time to their season.

The Wolves got the extra time, but not in the way they intended.

A penalty and an ensuing missed extra point proved the difference in Sequim’s 14-13 loss to the visiting Bremerton Knights on Thursday. Along with Port Angeles’ 23-7 loss to Kingston, the Wolves (2-4 in league, 4-5 overall) join Kingston and Port Angeles in a three-way tiebreaker set for Tuesday, Nov. 4, at Silverdale Stadium.

A preseason draw gives Kingston’s Buccaneers a bye in the tiebreaker, so the Wolves take on Port Angeles’ Roughriders (2-4, 4-5) at 5:30 p.m. in a shortened game of two, eight-minute quarters. The winner advances to play Kingston (2-4, 2-7) 20 minutes after the end of the first game, with the winner advancing to play the top seed from the South Puget Sound League on Nov. 7 or Nov. 8 (location TBA).

Sequim could have secured a playoff spot with a win and, with Port Angeles’ loss, eliminated both teams they may face this week, but wet conditions and a resilient Bremerton defense kept the Wolves from the win column.

The Wolves and Knights battled to a sloppy, scoreless first quarter that featured two Knights fumbles and a Sequim turnover on downs. In the second quarter, after forcing a Bremerton punt with five minutes until halftime, Sequim fumbled on its own 5-yard line, setting up Calvin Cardwell’s 3-yard plunge with 3:51 left in the half.

Bremerton looked to add to their 7-0 lead when quarterback Connor Mahoney ran into the end zone from 32 yards out on the Knights’ next possession, but an inadvertent whistle brought the play back and Sequim’s defense forced a Bremerton punt.

Down 7-0, Sequim got the equalizer on their second possession of the second half, when quarterback Miguel Moroles found lanky wide receiver Bailey Earley from 35 yards out. The 6-foot 4-inch Earley leapt over a Knight defender to help knot the game at 7-7.

“That corner was playing good some good coverage,” Earley said, “but (the play) worked.”

Bremerton responded immediately, as Cardwell and Mahoney maneuvered the Knights downfield. On third-down-and-12, Mahoney found an open Ty Haley from 37 yards out for a 14-7 Bremerton lead one minute into the fourth quarter.

After the teams traded punts, Sequim mounted a 10-play drive capped by a Moroles-to-Earley 5-yard fade pass into the end zone with two minutes in regulation. However, Sequim was called for snapping the ball too early on the extra point and SHS kicker Adrian Espinoza’s effort from 22 yards out in a downpour was wide. Bremerton clung to a 14-13 lead.

Bremerton looked to run out the clock, but Sequim’s defense forced a three-and-out. Starting from their own 15-yard line, the Wolves mounted one last comeback, ignited by a Moroles-to-Earley 42-yard pass play. After a penalty and two incompletions, Moroles once again found Earley for another 44 yards. Following a 10-yard Sequim penalty, the Wolves lined up for a 46-yard field goal try. Espinoza slipped on the kick and the attempt fell well short and wide right.

“Really frustrating,” Earley said of the loss. “There were a lot of little things we could have done better.”

Moroles finished 14-of-22 for 204 yards and added 21 yards on the ground. Early had 140 yards on five receptions and Stamper led the Wolves with 56 rushing yards.

Caldwell led all rushers with 166 yards on 24 carries, including a 50-yard scamper on the game’s opening play. Mahoney was 3-of-7 passing.

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