Football: Wolves gear up for 2019 campaign

Football: Wolves gear up for 2019 campaign

In a look ahead at our SHS football season preview, the Wolves have questions to answer

The Sequim High School football season is on the horizon, with memories of a successful season a year ago helping the team start the season ranked as the 2A classification’s No. 10 team in the state, according to the Seattle Times.

That said, there’s a few questions that head coach Erik Wiker and staff look to answer before the season begins against Washington High School in Sequim on Sept. 6.

While there’s a lot of talent in this year’s team, the loss of Olympic League MVP Riley Cowan and other leaders in the team mean that there’s going to be a lot of change for the Wolves this season.

Who is the QB?

The answer to this question, fortunately, is pretty straightforward.

“It’s going to be Taig (Wiker),” said Erik Wiker, Taig’s father, at one of the Wolves’ first practices of the summer.

“He was our running back last year, but before that he’d always been a quarterback.”

Erik Wiker said that the playbook would change a little bit to reflect the difference in skill set between Cowan’s in-pocket style and the younger Wiker’s more athletic style.

“We’ll have some more designed runs and things to take advantage of Taig’s playmaking ability,” Erik Wiker said, “but it’ll mostly be done within the same kind of thing we were already doing.”

Other big shoes to fill

Kyler Rollness, Johnnie Young, Ben Cowan and Joey Oliver all graduated last year after being named all-Olympic League first- and second-team players on for the Olympic League offense and defense after the 2018 season.

The team has a number of players with experience to help fill the void. Hayden Eaton, Michael Young, Walker Ward, Lane Motes and Isaiah Cowan are all primed to take bigger roles on the team moving forward, according to Wiker and assistant coach Chris Young, with others eager to earn opportunities to prove themselves.

That quartet of graduated seniors and Cowan represented not only strong skills but plenty of leadership on and off the field, leaving a void at the top of the roster that some of the younger players in the team look to fill.

The Wolves got through a crowded Olympic League field in 2018 with an undefeated record and just one loss overall on the season. A loss to a loaded Steilacoom in the 2A state tournament, however, cut short their hopes of a deep run in the tourney.

Even with the loss of Cowan and other key seniors from last year’s squad, though, there’s plenty of reason for optimism, coach Chris Young said. The team’s huge core of juniors has plenty of experience thanks to getting lots of time on the field last season, and several players are being moved into positions better suited to them after previous starters graduated.

Big early schedule tests

One way or another, Wolves fans will have a good idea of just what this team can do by the end of September.

After starting with a home game against Washington on Sept. 6, the Wolves play three consecutive tough road games against Forks (Sept. 13), North Kitsap (Sept. 20) and North Mason (Sept. 27).

SHS beat all three teams at home last season, but all three games were tough tests for the Wolves — and playing all three teams on the road this season won’t make that test any easier.

Erik Wiker said he isn’t worried, however.

“Yeah, those teams are tough, but we’re not sweating it,” he said. “The schedule is what it is. We’ve just gotta play each week as they come and deal with what we’ve got.”

Young noted that a lot of this year’s juniors enjoy playing at places like North Kitsap.

“It’s a hostile environment, but they thrive on that,” Young said

With a schedule heavy on home games after that stretch — Sequim closes the season with four home games out of five, and the road game is against Port Angeles — that early-season stretch is arguably their biggest test of the year.

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