Football: Knights edge Wolves for playoff spot

Velarde, Sequim running backs shine in season finale

Bremerton quarterback Savante Perrigo turned, saw no one in the backfield to hand the ball off to and broke for the first down marker, hoping to make something happen. What he did Thursday night ended Sequim’s season in spectacular fashion.

The Knight’s sophomore shed several tackles on the way to the end zone, breaking a 20-20 tie with just 22 seconds left and sending Bremerton not only to a 27-20 win against the visiting Sequim Wolves, but on to a West Central District playoff play-in game set for Nov. 3.

Sequim came into the game needing a win or close loss (less than three points) to avoid missing the postseason for the fourth consecutive season. A loss dropped them into a three-way tie with Bremerton and Kingston, with the tiebreaker being point differential.

Kington beat Port Angeles 45-21 to improve to 3-3 in league.

“We’ve gone through some adversity (this season),” Sequim coach Erik Wiker said, noting injuries to defensive stalwarts Chris Whitaker, Matthew Schock and Kane Stoddard before the game and Mark Feeney during Thursday night’s loss.

“We’d had so many key players on the defense injured (so) I wasn’t disappointed,” Wiker said. They played hard, stepped up. Some played positions they hadn’t played before. They made it a game.”

On Thursday night in Bremerton, there were only rare moments of point differential as the two squads saw the game knotted at 7-7, 13-13 and 20-20 before a chaotic, back-and-forth fourth quarter that saw Sequim get three chances to take a lead.

The first came on a drive early in the quarter that saw Sequim drive to the Knights’ 41-yard line, only to see a turnover on downs.

After the teams traded possessions, Sequim’s Gavin Velarde picked off a Perrigo pass with 4:01 on the game clock. On the following play, Velarde took a short toss from Sequim quarterback Riley Cowan and ran it to the Knights’ 26-yard-line. A botched snap, a penalty and two yardless downs negated that drive.

Finally, Sequim forced a Bremerton punt with 1:11 remaining and took over on their own 35-yard-line. But Velarde — who finished with 162 yards on 10 receptions and a touchdown — fumbled after making a reception. The Knights took over on the Sequim 37-yard-line, setting up Perrigo’s game-winning score.

Wiker said Velarde felt bad for the miscue but that it didn’t negate all the good things the sophomore receiver/defensive back/kick returner had done for the Wolves.

“He’s why we’re here,” Wiker said of Velarde. “He’s one of the reasons why we’ve had success.”


An even matchup

Sequim opened the scoring with a five-play drive that took just 1:41 off the game clock, highlighted by a Cowan-to-Velarde 37-yard pass play on fourth down. Arnold Black took it in from a yard away.

Bremerton tied it at 7-7 on their first possession, when Perrigo scrambled from three yards out to cap an eight-play, 62-yard drive.

The Wolves took the lead near the end of the first quarter, when Cowan found Velarde again on fourth down for a 19-yard scoring pass that saw Velarde leap over Bremerton defenders. Bremerton blocked Cowan’s point-after try, and Sequim led 13-7.

Bremerton evened things five seconds into the second quarter, as Perrigo found Teni Vaoifi from 15 yards out. Sequim blocked Bremerton’s kick as well, leaving the game at 13-13.

Sequim looked to get on the scoreboard just before halftime, but Vaoifi intercepted a Cowan throw in the end zone to quell the Wolves’ final first half drive.

Sequim converted a turnover into a score with about three minuted left in the third quarter. Bremerton’s Richard Bios fumbled and Ben Hughes recovered at the Knight’s 14-yard-line. Three plays later, Black scampered in from four yard out for a 20-13 Sequim lead.

It didn’t last. Bios reeled off a 36-yard run to open Bremerton’s next drive, and four plays later Perrigo found Mikhail Papilon from the 13 yards out to knot the game at 20-20.

As Sequim did, Bremerton had its chances in the fourth quarter. But Sequim’s patchwork defense forced two punts and an interception before Perrigo’s scoring scramble with less than 30 seconds on the clock.


By the numbers

Despite sitting out much of the final few minutes with an injury, Feeney led Sequim with 112 yards on 19 carries. Arnold Black added 83 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns.

Cowan was 14-for-25 for 208 yards a TD and an interception.

Velarde added 34 yards rushing for 196 total yards from scrimmage.

Sequim was 4-of-11 on third down but 3-of-4 on fourth and racked up 23 first downs. They accrued seven penalties for 50 yards.

Bremerton running back Richard Bios led the Knights with 147 yards on 24 attempts.

Perrigo was 5-for-13 for 52 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Sequim finishes 3-3 in league and 5-3 overall — their first winning season since 2011.

Last year, Bremerton edged Sequim 14-13 to send the Wolves into a district playoff three-way, play-in tiebreaker where they were eliminated by Port Angeles.