Starting centers usually don’t switch positions from week-to-week, especially to debut at quarterback as an underclassmen in a rivalry game in wet weather. But Sequim quarterback Lars Wiker had prior experience at the center position from middle school football, and in need of bigger bodies, he filled in on the offensive line to start the season.
He probably won’t be going back to the line if Sequim can help it as Wiker was steady at the tiller, completing 10 of 25 passes for 177 yards and a touchdown and running for another score as Sequim retained the Rainshadow Rumble rivalry trophy by surviving Port Angeles 17-12 on Sept. 17.
Seven of those passes went to junior wideout Isaiah Moore, who totaled 98 receiving yards.
“He’s an athlete and I know that I don’t need to make any crazy pass, I just need to get it to him,” Wiker said. “And he’s a big body, that helps a lot.”
Senior Kobe Applegate caught three passes for 79 yards, including a 46-yard touchdown pass on a wheel route as the Sequim passing game propelled the Wolves to the win.
“We knew that Kobe is fast and athletic and knows the offense, so we thought he would make a good receiver,” Wiker said.
“I think the snap was all right but there was pressure coming from between the center and guard. That route is open a lot against that defense and I just threw it.”
Wiker came into the week feeling good about the opportunity and a solid Thursday practice further boosted his confidence.
“I knew we had a pretty good chance of winning coming into this and I knew the aftermath would be rough if we didn’t win,” Wiker said. “It feels good to beat PA, especially since we didn’t get to play them last year.”
The game hung in the balance after Riders senior Daniel Cable dodged and weaved his way to a 19-yard rushing score late in the third quarter.
Cable ran 12 times for 78 yards, caught four passes for 43 yards, chased down Moore to prevent what would have been a sure touchdown and recovered a fumble.
Port Angeles had three chances at taking the lead late against the Wolves, but the first two possessions ended with turnover on downs deep in Port Angeles territory.
Sequim had its own opportunities to sew the game shut, but a slew of illegal motion and procedure penalties derailed Sequim’s second shot at going up two scores and a 35-yard field goal by Brandon Wagner came up short.
Another possession in Port Angeles territory ended with a high snap over the head of Applegate, who came in for Wiker for one play.
The Riders opened their last possession at their own 43 and advanced just shy of the Sequim 20 when three straight holding penalties pushed Port Angeles back to midfield.
Port Angeles did force a defensive pass interference penalty on fourth down to get one last chance to move the chains and extend the game, but Parker Nickerson’s pass went through the hands of Riders’ receiver Ty Bradow.
Sequim coach Erik Wiker was proud of his squad for coming together quickly and picking up the win.
“Basically between covid protocols, no offseason and everything else, the first time we had everybody together was Tuesday,” Wiker said.
Sequim was called for 17 penalties totaling 135 yards and had three fumbles. The Roughriders was flagged for nine penalties for 75 yards and had three turnovers of their own.
“Yeah it was sloppy, but we are really at the point where we would be having a scrimmage (and not playing a game),” Erik Wiker said. “So all things considered, we executed well and did lots of things really well.”
Wiker was referring to his team’s defensive line and the connections in the passing game between Wiker and Moore.
“They do have a nice connection,” Wiker said. “He can catch everything, plus we put some of those plays in this week for him. We can throw off the power and it looks like run. The jailbreak (screens) helped a lot.”
Applegate said the key for the Wolves’ win was simple: “Definitely the execution. Execution lot better than Forks (a 56-28 loss on Sept. 3).”
Applegate said Sequim’s defense shone, particularly Aiden Gockerell at free safety and Sam Fitzgerald at linebacker.
Gockerell, new to the team this year after transferring from North Carolina, is fitting in well with the Wolves’ veterans, Applegate said.
“We love him; he’s a great playmaker,” Applegate said.
During the truncated 2020-2021 season, the rival squads didn’t play. It was the first time they hadn’t met since 2003.
Sequim is scheduled to play at Bainbridge on Sept. 24. Last season, the Wolves ran over the Spartans at home, 38-0.
On Sept. 10, Sequim plays at Bremerton; the teams did not face each other in the 2020-2021 season.
Sept. 17 — at Sequim 17, Port Angeles 12
PA 0 6 6 0 — 12
Seq 3 7 7 0 — 17
S — Wagner 30 field goal (2:06)
PA — Peterson 1 run (kick failed), 10:11
S — Applegate 46 pass from Wiker (Wagner kick), 7:02
S — Wiker 1 run (Wagner kick), 5:43
PA — Cable 19 run (pass failed), 2:15
Passing — Seq: Wiker 10-25-177, TD; Port Angeles: Nickerson 6-15-57, 2 INT
Rushing — Seq: Fitzgerald 3-34; Gockerell 7-(-11); Wiker 10-(-21); Port Angeles: Cable 12-78; Peterson 6-20, Livingston 8-16; Nickerson 8-(-11)
Receiving — Seq: Moore 7-98, Applegate 3-79; Port Angeles: Cable 4-43, Jones 1-10, Peterson 1-4