In the fall of 2008, the Sequim Wolves beat highly-ranked Cascade Christian 17-14, handing the Cougars what would be their only loss of the season until the 1A state championship game.
On Saturday night, it was payback time.
Behind junior quarterback Kyle Stennes, the predominantly run-heavy Cougars passed for 211 yards and three touchdowns, then confounded the explosive Sequim offense to the tune of just one score in a 21-7 decision at Sunset Chev Stadium in Sumner.
"They were on fire tonight," Sequim coach Erik Wiker said of Cascade. "They were on their A-game."
For an early season, nonleague contest, Saturday night's battle between Sequim and Cascade Christian sure had all the feel of a playoff game.
In a painful reminder of playoffs past, however, it was Sequim on the losing end, helped greatly by the first-half injuries to starting tight end/linebacker Clancy Catelli and center/linebacker Preston McFarlen.
Taking advantage of the injuries, a key first-half Sequim fumble and a blown coverage in the secondary, Stennes threw for three touchdowns.
The Cougar defense found a way to slow the spread Sequim offense, taking away both the run and the short passing game.
And then there were the penalties. Sequim racked up eight calls for 64 yards, including back-to-back illegal blocks in the first half and an illegal forward pass that negated a Drew Rickerson touchdown toss in the third quarter.
Ranked No. 6 in last week's Associated Press poll 1A rankings, Cascade looked every bit as tough as they did last season.
"We made mistakes, they didn't," Wiker said. "They're a solid team. I thought we could run better on them."
Rickerson finished 21-of-48 with 229 passing yards and a touchdown, a 20-yard strike to Joel Anastasi in the second quarter. Travis Decker, Sequim's premier running back, was held to just 59 yards on 15 carries.
John Textor had six catches for 128 yards and nabbed two Stennes passes for interceptions.
No rhythm, no chance
After trading possessions to open the game, Cascade finally broke through with 14 seconds left in the first quarter on a 21-yard pass play from Stennes to Spencer Ramos.
Sequim looked to answer right back after Textor picked Stennes in the second quarter and drove to the Cougar 12-yard-line. But a toss from Rickerson to Textor on fourth down was ruled out of bounds, the first of Sequim's three critical fourth down failures.
One possession later,
Sequim did break through, as Rickerson found Anastasi from 20 yards out to tie the game at 7-7 with 3:33 to play in the half.
The Wolves looked to nab momentum by halftime after forcing a Cougar punt but with less than a minute to go, the handoff between Rickerson and Sequim's backup center was fumbled, then recovered by Cascade's Jacob Roth.
Three plays later, Stennes found a diving Jake Archer for a 14-7 Cascade lead.
Sequim came out firing in the third quarter, as Rickerson found Textor for a 65-yard pass play to the Cascade 15-yard-line, But the drive stalled, and when Rickerson stepped past the down marker before his shuffle pass to Joey Hall for a touchdown on fourth down, Sequim lost the ball.
Penalties, sharp punting and good Cougar defense kept the Wolves from threatening late in the game. Forcing a Sequim punt late in the third quarter, Cascade capped the scoring when Stennes found Axel Johnson in the end zone.
Abandoning any kind of running attack, the Wolves tried - but failed - to find any kind of offensive rhythm in the final quarter. Catelli, a key to their offensive and defensive success, tried to play on the ankle he injured on the fourth play of the game while McFarlen could only watch from the bench with his knee iced and wrapped.
Sequim finished 4-of-11 on third down.
Despite the loss, the Wolves' run defense held Cascade to just 70 yards rushing and one third down conversion.
The Wolves get another road game this week when they travel to Steilacoom.
The Sentinels (0-3) are coming off a 28-0 loss at Seattle Prep.
Last season, the defending Olympic League 2A champion Sentinels gave the Wolves their only regular-season loss (35-21), snapping Sequim's 26-game league winning streak. Steilacoom went on to go 10-0 in the regular season before falling to Burlington-Edison in the state playoffs.
But Sentinel quarterback Greg Herd, so crucial to the Sentinels in 2008, graduated last June, along with fullback Jordan Flynn and a number of other key seniors.
Reach Michael Dashiell at firstname.lastname@example.org.