Once they tightened their collective grip on the ball, the Wolves found some confidence, some momentum and their first league win of the season.
Travis Decker ran for a team-high 105 yards while quarterback Drew Rickerson ran for two scores and threw for another as Sequim toppled Klahowya 36-19 in Sequim on Oct. 3.
Up just 8-3 at halftime, the Wolves ran off 22 unanswered points and put the Eagles away with 12 minutes to go.
The win puts the Wolves (1-1 in league, 3-2 overall) back into the Olympic/Nisqually League title chase, a game back of Steilacoom and North Mason, and effectively puts Klahowya out of the running.
"By the end of the first half, we knew we were the superior team," Sequim coach Erik Wiker said. "We just needed to make sure that we didn't stop ourselves."
The Wolves looked to dominate early, scoring just three minutes into the game when Rickerson found a streaking John Textor from 37 yards out. Brad Woolf added the two-point conversion.
But the rest of the first half was marred by errors by both teams;
Sequim and Klahowya accounted for three fumbles (all by the Wolves), six penalties and just three of 12 third-down conversions.
But Jason Harvey changed all that. Harvey took the second half's opening kickoff 61 yards to the Klahowya 21-yard line. After a Brad Woolf eight-yard scamper, Decker found the end zone from 13 yards, giving Sequim a 14-3 lead.
Thanks to some wind gusts and Thomas Gallagher's high kick, the Wolves recovered the ensuing kickoff. Five plays later, Rickerson scored from a yard out, putting the Wolves up 22-3.
On Klahowya's next drive, the Eagles attempted a fake punt on fourth down, but Clancy Catelli, a Sequim linebacker, spotted the Dan Zimny heave and snagged it, returning the interception to the Eagles' 23-yard-line. Six plays later, on a fourth-and-2, Rickerson snuck into the end zone for a 30-3 lead.
Klahowya added a pair of scores late from backup running back Randy Schmittler, but
Sequim fullback Jeremie Oliver's 17-yard jaunt gave Sequim 36 points and a league win.
"It's all linemen, the line-men," Decker said. "They stepped it up this week. We had intense practices (at a) high tempo."
Sequim also manhandled Klahowya's oftentimes potent offense, a double-wing attack with five different players who can run or throw the ball.
"We have also played the double-wing so often," Wiker said, recalling a season seeing it in six different games. "It's simple (to defend) but to apply, it's hard."
The win was particularly sweet for the Wolves, who lost their first league game in four years last week in a 35-21 defeat to Steilacoom. The Sentinels improved to 2-0 by beating Fife on Friday; Steilacoom and North Mason stand atop the league standings with 2-0 marks.
"This (win) is going to change this whole season around," Catelli said.
Wiker said that in practices, Sequim's coaches tried to emphasize that despite two early losses, both of them came to ranked teams.
Sequim still has a chance for a league crown if Steilacoom slips; the Wolves have games remaining against favorites North Mason and Fife.
After three consecutive home games, the Wolves are on the road next week to take on Kingston's Buccaneers (0-2 in league, 1-4 overall), who fell to Washington 21-14 in overtime last week. Last season, Sequim pummeled the first-year Bucs 33-7.
With regular kicker Eric Huston injured, Sequim lineman Gallagher (6-foot 6-inches, 295 pounds) assumed kicking responsibilities ... Catelli tied Jake Dethlefsen for the team high in tackles (10) while picking off a pass and getting
Sequim's only sack ... Rickerson was 5-of-11 for 84 yards passing ... Woolf had 42 yards rushing on just six carries. Isaac Yamamoto, used almost exclusively on defense, finished with 39 yards on three carries. Reserve Joey Gish had 38 yards on three tries ... Sequim converted three of four two-point conversions. Sequim's defense held speedy Klahowya back Andre Moore to just 39 yards on 15 carries and big fullback Cody Hertenstein to 14 yards on 11 attempts. Senior Randy Schmittler led the Eagles with 135 yards and two scores on 10 carries.