For six-and-a-half weeks into the 2011 Olympic League campaign, it looked as if Sequim and Port Angeles were headed toward another classic, end-of-the-season bout for the title.
But with the Roughriders’ 35-14 loss to North Kitsap Friday night, it looks as if Sequim’s contest with NK’s Vikings may be for the league crown.
And the Wolves may be without their star quarterback when they take on those Vikings in Poulsbo Oct. 21.
Sequim (5-0 in league play, 7-0 overall) got a touchdown pass and two TD runs from signal-caller Frank Catelli in a 35-8 win at Olympic on Oct. 13 but saw the senior go down with what Catelli and coaches believe is a groin injury late in the third quarter.
That, and a helmet-to-shin injury to starting tailback/backup QB Jack Wiker had third-string quarterback Cody Field leading the Wolves to an insurance score late in last Thursday’s victory.
Despite the injuries, Sequim head coach Erik Wiker said he was pleased to get out of Silverdale Stadium with a win.
“Overall I saw a lot of good things,” he said. “(Although) our tackling was poor. At times, number seven made us look bad.”
That No. 7 was Olympic junior quarterback Rob Howard, who threw for 157 yards and scrambled for 64 more.
But Sequim’s defense managed to shut down the opportunistic Trojan offense until the final seven seconds, when Howard found Randy Grier for a score.
In the meantime, Sequim piled up more than 400 yards of total offense, posting a 14-0 lead by halftime and getting two key scores in the third quarter.
The first of those scores was a quarterback scramble that saw Catelli race around left end and leap high-jump-style over two Trojans to paydirt.
The second came less than five minutes later, when Catelli found receiver Christian Miles on a deep seam route that the Sequim junior hauled in 35 yards downfield.
Miles, held out of several games since suffering an early-season concussion, said it was great to be on the field again.
“This (game) felt so good,” he said “I didn’t feel great the first day (back at practice). I had to get my head right.”
The difference Thursday night between Sequim and Olympic? Execution, Miles said.
“Their running backs we could have stopped better (but) the coaches had us ready,” Miles said. “The whole team executed.”
Olympic looked to have an advantage right off the blocks. After picking off a Catelli pass, the Trojans drove into Wolves territory only to turn the ball over on downs on the Sequim 25.
The Wolves responded with a 13-play, 75-yard drive that was kept alive thanks to a 13-yard pass play from Catelli to Nick Ramirez on fourth-and-long. Jack Wiker’s three-yard scamper capped the drive.
Ramirez sparked Sequim’s next scoring drive after he picked off Howard on the Trojan 33-yard-line. Six plays later, Catelli lumbered in from two yards out for a 14-0 lead.
Olympic’s Ben Long had the first of two interceptions in the second quarter as the Trojans put together a 14-play drive, but the halftime horn blew as the drive stalled on the Sequim six-yard-line.
Sequim scored on its opening two second-half drives to extend to a 28-0 lead, as Sequim stymied Olympic’s rushing attack.
Just before the third quarter expired, Catelli launched a deep post route pass and then collapsed onto the artificial turf in a heap. He was helped off the field and spent the rest of the game lying down on the Sequim bench next to his backup, Jack Wiker, who was already out with his shin injury.
Field, the third-string quarterback who’s normally used as a wide receiver, managed the rest of the game. After Long picked off a pass on Field’s first drive, the senior led the Wolves 87 yards on the ensuing Sequim drive, finding Michael Ballard from seven yards out for a touchdown and a 35-0 lead.
Erik Wiker credited Field and backup running back Josh McElrath for stepping up in replacing his injured starters.
Tyler Forshaw had a monster game for the Wolves, snagging 10 passes for 135 yards.
With North Kitsap’s 35-14 dismantling of Port Angeles a day later, Sequim’s date with the Vikings this week becomes paramount.
The week following, Sequim hosts rival Port Angeles. Playoffs begin the week after. Miles, for one, likes Sequim’s chances at a run to a state 2A title.
“I’ve been here four years and … I believe we can win state,” he said. “This is the best (Sequim) team I’ve ever seen.”