The Sequim Wolves’ football team scored a major upset last week, beating the Olympic League-leading Olympic Trojans 37-14 on Oct. 11 in a comprehensive performance that was rarely in doubt.
Junior quarterback Taig Wiker returned from a knee injury suffered against North Mason on Sept. 27 to throw for 170 yards with three touchdowns and one interception, including a 35-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Michael Young just three plays into the game.
“I knew they were running man (defense) early on and Michael is a really good route runner; he can run a route against pretty much anybody in the league,” Wiker said.
“Just running that corner (route) on that first drive, I knew he was going to be open from 7-on-7 during the summer. We have a good connection.”
Young intercepted Olympic quarterback Anthony Turso in the fourth quarter and ran it back 45 yards to set up the drive deep in the Trojans’ territory. He then added a second touchdown on a 16-yard pass from Wiker, two plays into the drive.
That was one of two interceptions on the night for Turso, the second a 59-yard, game-clinching pick-six by Garrett Hoesel just minutes after Young’s second touchdown catch.
Hoesel also had a 50-yard kick return to open the game that helped set up the Wolves’ early touchdown that set the tone for the game.
Junior receiver Hayden Eaton had a dramatic touchdown of his own when in the third quarter he was in the right place at the right time. Under pressure, Wiker rolled out to his right and threw up a pass that, after the game, he admitted he never should have thrown.
“I made the read way too late and regretted it as I threw it,” Wiker said later. “I just accepted it. (The ball) came out weird, it ducked in the air, it was an awkward pass off my back leg and it came (out of my hand) weird.”
Olympic’s Adam Johnson camped out under the pass but misjudged its flight and could only watch as it caromed off his hands — and straight into the hands of Eaton, running a crossing route several yards behind him.
Several seconds later, Eaton had crossed the goal line to score one of the stranger 69-yard catch-and-run touchdowns in recent memory.
“That never happens to us,” Wolves’ head coach Eric Wiker said about the bizarre touchdown after the game.
“Our coaches were like ‘Dude, that happens to everybody but us, how did that happen?’ I took it, I was looking for flags and was like, all right.”
Taig Wiker also added a one-yard rushing touchdown one play after a 40-yard reception for Walker Ward off a screen pass.
As impressive as the Wolves’ passing game was on the night, Wiker was most pleased with his defense.
“Honestly, that’s where the strength of our team is,” Wiker said of his defense. “Our special teams are good, our offense is pretty good, but our defense is outstanding, I think. I’ve told them that our defense is going to keep us in a lot of games. They can man up and play against some good teams.”
That quality was on full display on Friday night, as even with key inside linebacker Lane Mote out of the game, the reshuffled defense held up strongly against Olympic’s more athletic offense that previously run roughshod over Olympic League foes.
Taig Wiker stepped back up into the linebacker corps for the first time since his freshman year, while Young stayed at Wiker’s usual safety position after playing well there against Kingston when Wiker was injured. That combination worked well, with Wiker coming up with several big tackles, and Young catching his key interception and playing top defense when Olympic went for bigger passing plays.
The Trojans had just one dominant drive in the entire game, chaining together several big plays out of halftime and scoring on a 9-yard touchdown carry by junior Trent Fesitner.
The Trojans’ only other touchdown came against Sequim’s second-string defenders late in the game, and while their normally-dominant running game still earned 191 yards, they struggled to chain together first downs thanks to a passing game that managed only 71 yards on the night — 21 yards of which came on that late touchdown to Johnson.
The Wolves’ next game sees them head to Port Angeles for the Rainshadow Rumble against the Roughriders at Civic Field on Oct. 18 at 6:30 p.m. Port Angeles is 0-3 in the league this season and 0-6 overall, falling 24-6 to Bremerton on Oct. 11.
Sequim then host their final two regular season games, first a non-league game against Hoquiam — who spoiled the Wolves’ otherwise undefeated season a year ago — on Oct. 25, then facing Bremerton in the league schedule finale on Nov. 1.
With a top-three place in the Olympic League, Sequim qualifies for the 2A state tournament, which begins Nov. 15 at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup.