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Peninsula Daily News
SEQUIM — Sequim earned its first victory of the season Friday night by defeating Klahowya 37-32 in its homecoming game.
But true to how this season has been for the Wolves, it wasn’t easy.
It took 31 first-half points, 422 yards combined rushing from Lopaka Yasamura and Jack Wiker, losing an 18-point advantage in the fourth quarter, a touchdown drive to regain the lead and, finally, a stop on fourth-and-goal with seven seconds left in the game.
The eventual winning score came with a little more than 2 minutes to play.
On fourth down and three at the Klahowya 13-yard line and trailing 32-31 with 2:05 to play, Wiker rolled left and appeared ready to pick up the first down with his legs, but he instead threw to an open Christian Miles for the go-ahead touchdown.
“It’s a rollout, my dad [head coach Erik Wiker] told me to run, if the corner wasn’t there,” Wiker said.
“But I knew they’ve been kind of biting on me to stop the run on the rollouts, and he bit on me, took two steps right up to me; I just hucked it up to Christian, [who was] wide open.”
Jack Wiker calmly executed the play, but Erik Wiker said his son was so sure of it during the timeout prior to the touchdown.
And for good reason.
Although a similar play in the first quarter produced a touchdown pass to Jody Allen, it also resulted in an interception earlier in the fourth quarter on a play where it looked like Jack Wiker had plenty of room to run for the first down.
“I’m like, ‘Dude, it’s the championship play — you step up and you make it,’ ” the coach said of his conversation with the quarterback during the timeout.
“‘And be smart about it. You go, he’s open, [then] throw it. If not, you can get four yards and you go get it.’
“He calmed down. That’s why we called a timeout, though. He’s a high-energy kid, so we wanted the timeout, [to get] everything smooth, go through the whole process in his brain and then go.”
But the Eagles still weren’t ready to submit.
As he did throughout the fourth quarter, quarterback Jacob Sheets once again drove Klahowya down the field and within striking distance.
The Eagles went 68 yards, with all but two coming on passes or runs by Sheets, to the Sequim 7-yard line with 26 seconds to play.
But Sheets was sacked, Sam Lidstrom and Miles knocked down passes, and then Grady Bashore dropped a pass in the end zone on fourth-and-goal to end Klahowya’s rally.
On the game, Sheets threw for 204 yards and three touchdowns, and ran for 92 yards and another score.
“The quarterback is elusive, he bought time,” Erik Wiker said.
“He was going to run, couldn’t because he was going to get tackled, stops, gets up, throws a bullet.
“The kid has tons of experience and is a winner. He made a lot of good plays.”
But the Eagles struggled to contain the running of Jack Wiker and Yasamura.
Wiker gained 151 yards on the ground with one touchdown, to go along with 126 yards and two touchdowns passing.
Yasamura ran for 271 yards on 32 carries and three scores, including 50- and 42-yard touchdown dashes in the first half.
Though the 31 points Sequim scored in the first half eclipsed their highest total output in any game this season, Klahowya coach Dan Ericson wasn’t completely caught off-guard by the Wolves’ offensive explosion.
“They just came out on fire offensively in the first half,” Ericson said.
“I’ve been watching all their game on film, and I knew it was going to happen to somebody — but I was hoping it wasn’t going to be us — because they have too much talent on offense.”
Sequim (1-4, 1-6) led 31-13 going into the fourth quarter, but the Eagles quickly tore down the lead.
First, Sheets found Bashore for a touchdown pass with 11 minutes left.
Then Klahowya recovered a Sequim fumble, and Sheets hooked up with Josh Ganowski for a 23-yard score, giving the Eagles 13 points in 15 seconds.
Suddenly, Sequim’s lead had been cut to 31-25.
On the first play of the ensuing drive, Wiker threw an interception to Klahowya’s Ben Zimmy, which set up another touchdown pass from Sheets to Bashore and put the Eagles ahead 32-31.
Sequim lost another fumble, but the defense held Klahowya (2-3, 4-3) to a three-and-out, giving the Wolves the ball with five minutes to play.
The win was especially sweet for Sequim, especially when a season that began with Olympic League championship hopes and state playoff expectations was smothered by an 0-6 start.
“This was the best feeling I’ve ever had in football,” Jack Wiker said.
Erik Wiker said it ranks among the best wins of his career.
“This team just overcame 0-6 and the lead dissipating hugely, and came back from that,” he said.
“That is one of the biggest gut-checks I’ve seen in my life.
“If you’re an 0-6 team, and you just saw that lead go like that? It’s so easy to can it, so easy to not believe, so easy to say, ‘Here we go again.’
“They weren’t thinking, ‘How are we going to lose this game,’ they were thinking, ‘We’re going stop them, we’re going to win this game.’
“I just think that I have not seen a team overcome what they just overcame today.”
Next for the Wolves is rival Port Angeles on Friday night at Civic Field in Port Angeles.
Sequim 37, Klahowya 32
Klahowya 6 7 0 19— 32
Sequim 19 12 0 6— 37
S—Lopaka Yasamura 50 run (Mitch Koonz kick)
S—Jody Allen 15 pass from Jack Wiker (kick blocked)
S—Wiker 4 run (kick failed)
K—Jacob Sheets 9 run (kick failed)
S—Yasamura 42 run (run failed)
K—Latrell Simpson 1 run (Kasey Trask)
S—Yasamura 9 run (run failed)
K—Grady Bashore 22 pass from Sheets (pass failed)
K—Josh Ganowski 23 pass from Sheets (kick blocked)
K—Bashore 17 pass from Sheets (Trask kick)
S—Christian Miles pass from Wiker (run failed)
Rushing—K: Sheets 17-92, Simpson 15-12. S: Yasamura 32-271, Wiker 22-151.
Passing—K: Sheets 12-27, 204. S: Wiker 12-21-1, 126.
Receiving—K: Ganowski 7-121, Bashore 2-39. S: Miles 4-39, Allen 3-53, Yasamura 3-20.