The Sequim Wolves are a team on a mission of redemption.
A week after suffering a shutout loss in Forks, the Wolves traveled to Civic Field on Friday to play old rival Port Angeles in an attempt to wash away the bitter taste of a disappointing opener. Fueled by a dominant run game and an aggressive defense, the Wolves easily took care of the Roughriders 38-7.
"We started taking care of the ball a little more and that's good," Sequim Wolves coach Erik Wiker said. "I think last week we were really close to that. There was a fumble here and there, but the blocking was there and the execution was there. It was nice to see it all come together because I know we can play like this."
The Wolves (1-1) came out strong when senior Chris Pruden returned the opening kickoff to the Roughrider 25-yard line. After two fourth-down conversions, sophomore running back Isaac Yamamoto put the Wolves on the board with a three-yard touchdown run, one of his two touchdowns in the game.
It was a bold strategy for coach Wiker to not attempt a field goal.
"I always err on the side of aggression," Wiker said, "That's four-down territory and I felt that we could get seven (points)."
The following Roughrider drive ended in a Clancy Catelli interception. One play later, sophomore quarterback Drew Rickerson found John Textor in the end zone for a 32-yard scoring strike, putting the Wolves up 14-0 with almost six minutes remaining in the opening quarter.
The Roughriders were able to score their lone touchdown on their next drive after quickly moving downfield with a potent passing attack led by quarterback Colby Adamich, but the thrill was short-lived; P.A. senior running back Josh McFarland had to leave the game after suffering a shoulder injury on the Roughriders' one-yard touchdown run. The Roughriders failed an onside kick attempt following the score and set the Wolves up with a short field, killing their momentum.
The Wolves then began to grind out yards with a punishing run game led by Yamamoto and junior Travis Decker, who each scored a pair of touchdowns. The offensive line easily controlled the line of scrimmage and blocked downfield with much success.
"The offensive line played very well," Wiker said. "They blocked well and executed well. Port Angeles has some real tough kids up front."
A 35-yard Erik Huston field goal and Yamamoto's second rushing touchdown gave the Wolves a 24-7 lead at halftime.
The Sequim defense took over in the third quarter, blitzing constantly and forcing two fumbles. Yamamoto and Catelli led the onslaught, both recording sacks in the quarter. Yamamoto had a very strong game on both sides of the ball and his defensive presence was very noticeable in the second half as he got into the offensive backfield seemingly at will. Roughrider quarterback Colby Adamich was injured on a Catelli sack and was replaced by senior Sam Olsen, leaving Port Angeles without two starters on offense.
A 10-yard Decker touchdown run put the Wolves up 31-7 with two and a half minutes remaining in the third quarter, putting the game out of reach for Port Angeles. Senior running back Joey Gish scored the final
Sequim touchdown on a three-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Decker finished with a team-high 110 yards rushing as the Wolves galloped for 290 rushing yards total.
The Roughriders offense featured a lot of shotgun formations and misdirection plays, and the Wolves were able to stay home on defense and stop long runs.
"You've got to stay home and make your tackles," Wiker said. "(Our outside linebackers) did a very good job doing that tonight."
The Sequim coach said he was happy with his team's performance in the game, but still felt room for improvement as penalties cost the Wolves points several times.
"The penalties are tough; it's us stopping us again," Wiker said. "It's not the other team stopping us. We've got to make sure we don't stop ourselves."
The Roughriders (0-2) travel to Olympia next week to play Capitol. They have been outscored 79-7 in their first two games of the season and the pressure is on them to get into the win column to keep the season from slipping away.
Next up for the Wolves is their home opener against Cascade Christian Sept. 19.