Football: Wolves overcome rain, Spartans thanks to Cowan’s big night, defense

Senior Riley Cowan tied a school record for career touchdown passes Friday night, but it was his scrambling that sparked Sequim High’s 20-16 comeback victory against the visiting 1A Forks Spartans.

Cowan threw the game-winning touchdown to sophomore Michael Young with 7:24 remaining and the Wolves’ defense came through with a key stop deep in their own territory late for the non-league win.

“They’re a good team,” Sequim coach Erik Wiker said. “Our defense just made plays.”

Sequim improved to 2-0 on the season.

Cowan had 13 rushes for 93 yards, spurring a Sequim offense that had stalled for what was a rainy first half and part of the third quarter.

“I missed a few throws in the first half (but) our players just started to believe,” Cowan said.

Behind big games from seniors Tristen Pisani (128 rushes, 121 yards) and Caleb Peters (23 rushes, 99 yards), Forks bullied its way to two first half scores and a 16-0 halftime lead, helped in part by a number of Sequim penalties.

“It wasn’t a team effort; in the second quarter, it seemed like they wanted to pack it in,” Wiker said of his club.

The Spartans looked to increase their lead after defensive back Keith Thompson picked off a Cowan pass midway through the third quarter.

“They could have been, ‘Here we go again’ (after the interception) but they didn’t,” Wiker said.

Soon after, Sequim’s defense forced a turnover on downs — and, fortuitously, the rain let up — and Cowan led the Wolves first scoring drive. He found Young for a 41-yard pass play and adding four key rushes for 29 yards. Cowan then found Joey Oliver on an eight-yard pass play for a touchdown to trim Forks’ lead to 16-6 with 2:50 left in the third quarter.

“The line, they did great,” Cowan said of his blockers. “I probably should have tried (running) earlier.”

Sequim’s defense — Oliver in particular — came up big on the next play from scrimmage, as the Sequim High senior defensive back intercepted Forks quarterback Gabe Reaume’s throw.

The Wolves’ offense briefly stalled deep in Forks territory on the ensuing drive, but Cowan looped an arcing pass to Kyler Rollness from 22 yards out on a fourth-down-and-15 for a score. In a matter of 104 seconds, Sequim trimmed Forks’ lead from 16 to just three (16-13).

Another stalled Spartan drive gave the Wolves possession on their own 42 early in the fourth quarter. There, Cowan again sparked a scoring drive with a 22-yard scramble.

Later in the drive, Cowan followed a big push from the Sequim line to pick up three yards on a fourth-down-and-3.

“Good quarterbacks move the chains; that’s what (Cowan) did,” Wiker said.

“That comes with age and maturity, knowing when to run (and) knowing where the spaces are,” Wiker said.

Cowan said, “I saw grass and ran to it.”

Five plays later, the Sequim quarterback connected with Young for the winning score.

With 7:24 on the clock, Forks wasn’t done. The Spartans drove 41 yards to the Sequim 21-yard line, aided by a 15-yard Sequim penalty on fourth down. There, on third down, Forks’ Reaume lofted a pass to Brett Moody, but Sequim safety Taig Wiker knocked the ball away. A play later, on fourth down, Pisani took a handoff and tried a halfback pass that Sequim defensive backs once again broke up.

The Wolves were able to run out the remaining 2:59 for the win.


Cowan finished 11-of-24 for 122 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.

His three TD passes gives him 52 for his SHS career, tying him for the all-time school mark with Drew Rickerson (2008-2010).

Cowan surpassed Rickerson’s yardage mark in the first game of the season, a 44-21 win against Washington.

“Without the (offensive) line and receivers doing their thing, I wouldn’t have got any of those touchdowns,” Cowan said.

Taig Wiker had nine rushes for 46 yards and Keeshawn Whitney added 15 yards on five carried.

Sequim was just 2-for-9 on third down but converted two of three fourth down attempts.

The Wolves were penalized 13 times for 102 yards, including back-to-back offsides penalties in the first half that helped Forks put together a 17-play scoring drive in the first quarter, capped by Moody’s five-yard scoring run.

Reaume was 4-of-8 for 42 yards and an interception.

The Spartans had 288 total yards, 246 of that on the ground. Forks had just 103 yards after halftime, however.

The Spartan defense held Sequim to just 55 first half yards but allowed 221 yards in the second half.

Looking ahead

Sequim has the challenge of taking on North Kitsap, the reigning Olympic League champ, at home on Sept. 14.

The Vikings (2-0) clobbered Kamiak last week, 56-0, and topped Bainbridge 20-17 the week previous.

Last season, North Kitsap routed Sequim 42-0 in Poulsbo.

On Sept. 21, Sequim celebrates Homecoming week with a match-up with league foe North Mason. The Bulldogs are 2-0 after wins against Shelton (35-14) and Klahowya (20-14).

at Sequim 20, Forks 16

Forks 8 8 0 0 — 16

Sequim 0 0 13 7 — 20


1st quarter

F — Moody 5 run (Pisani run), 3:13

2nd quarter

F — Pisani 4 run (Demorest run), 10:36

3rd quarter

S — Oliver 8 pass from Cowan (pass fails), 2:50

S — Rollness 22 pass from Cowan (Cowan kick), 1:06

4th quarter

S — Young 5 pass from Cowan (Cowan kick), 7:24

Sequim individual stats:

Rushing — Cowan 13-93; Wiker 9-46; Whitney 5-15

Passing — Cowan 11-24, 122 yards, 3 TDs, Int

Receiving — Young 4-62, TD; Rollness 5-48, TD; Oliver 1-8, TD; Whitney 1-4

Total yards — 276 (154 rushing, 122 passing)

Penalties: 13-102

Third down: 2-9

Fourth down: 2-3