BREMERTON — Sequim nearly completed a three-score comeback Thursday night against an athletic Bremerton squad, falling to the host Knights, 35-29.
Junior running back Jayden Quenga had 196 rushing yards and a score and senior Junior Aquino added a pair of touchdowns as the Knights (3-1) built a 21-0 first half lead and held off the late-charging Wolves (1-3).
Sequim saw drives end in a fumble, a turnover on downs and two punts before reaching the end zone on a Lars Wiker 19-yard strike to Kobe Applegate for the Wolves’ lone first half score.
Once Sequim players figured out they could hang with a Bremerton team that was bigger and more experienced on the line and had more overall speed, the momentum really changed, coach Erik Wiker said; the Wolves outscored Bremerton 22-14 in the second half.
“These are always good games [with Bremerton], always close,” he said. “We asked [our players] to tackle, play hard through the fourth quarter, and they did. A really good comeback, one of our best.”
Sophomore quarterback Lars Wiker finished 20-of-30 for 207 yards and three touchdowns, including a 62-yard strike to Brandon Wagner with 50 seconds left that brought the Wolves to within six points.
But an onside kick skipped out of bounds and the Knights were able to close out the game with a couple of kneel-downs.
Bremerton, which overcame 16 penalties that accounted for 150 lost yards, took advantage of a short field for a four-play, 32-yard drive capped by Aquino’s 5-yard plunge.
Two drives later, Quenga — playing with a cast on his arm, burst out of the pack, spun out of a tackle and raced 38 yards for a score and 14-0 Bremerton lead just seven minutes into the game.
The Knights added a 10-play, 93-yard drive that Aquino capped with another short sprint to the end zone before Wiker found Applegate just before half, trimming the Bremerton lead to 21-7.
Sequim grabbed the momentum early in the third quarter, taking advantage of a pair of Bremerton penalties. Sequim running back Aiden Gockerell found pay dirt from 16 yards out, and a Wagner point-after closed the gap to 21-14 just one minute and 46 seconds into the second half.
Bremerton responded three minutes later after the teams traded possessions. Knights quarterback Joshua Tapangco found Junior Newman for a 21-yard score and a 28-14 lead.
The Wolves responded once more in the third quarter, with Wiker converting a key third-and-12 by finding a leaping Applegate along the sideline for a 30-yard pass and, moments later, connecting with receiver Isaiah Moore to convert a fourth-and-13.
On the same drive, on a fourth-and-goal, Wiker connected with Applegate once again for a touchdown, cutting Bremerton’s lead to 28-21 with 1:05 left in the third quarter.
Sequim forced a Bremerton punt on the next Knights drive, but came up a yard short on their next drive. Bremerton took advantage, driving 60 yards on six plays and capped by a Jakobi Serrato’s four-yard touchdown run. Bremerton led 35-21.
The Wolves saw another drive end in a turnover on downs — again, just one yard short of converting a fourth down — before Wiker’s strike to Wagner closed the gap to 35-29.
Moore led the Wolves with five receptions while Wagner amassed 79 receiving yards and Applegate had four catches for 54 yards and the two scores. Gockerell led the team with 17 carries for 77 yards.
Erik Wiker praised the Wolves’ play on the offensive line, with three of the five — a sophomore and two freshmen — with a cumulative one game of experience between them.
“They came together and played hard,” he said. “It’s a win in my book.”
Tapangco finished 7-of-14 for 71 yards.
The two Olympic League foes didn’t play last year; Sequim beat the Knights 36-21 in 2019.
Sequim hosts North Kitsap, the No. 1-ranked 2A team in the state on at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
Bremerton 35, Sequim 29
Seq. 0 7 14 8 — 29
Brem. 14 7 7 7 — 35
B — Aquino 5 run (kick good)
B — Quenga 38 run (kick good)
B — Aquino 2 run (kick good), 5:15
S — Applegate 19 pass from Wiker (Wagner kick)
S — Gockerell 16 run (Wagner kick)
B — Newman 21 pass from Tapangco (kick good)
S — Applegate 1 pass from Wiker (Wagner kick)
B — Serrato 4 run (kick good)
S — Wagner 62 pass from Wiker (Wagner pass from Wiker)
Rushing — Seq: Gockerell 17-77, TD; Fitzgerald 3-10; King 1(-1); Wiker 9-(-7); Brem: Quenga 15-196, TD; Aquino 11-35, 2 TDs; Serrato 7-22, TD; Tapangco 3-10; Moore 1-5.
Passing — Seq: Wiker 20-30, 207 yards, 3 TDs, Int; Brem: Tapangco 7-14, 71 yards, TD.
Receiving — Seq: Wagner 4-82, TD; Moore 6-62; Applegate 4-54, 2 TDs; Robideau 1-9; Fitzgerald 2-0; Gockerell 3-0. Brem: Newman 5-48, TD; Sorensen 1-12; Moore 1-11.