SPORTS: Injuries doom Sequim in state playoffs against Burlington-Edison

POULSBO — Football is often a game of attrition.

In Saturday night’s Class 2A state playoff against big and physical Burlington-Edison, it caught up to the Sequim Wolves.

The Northwest Conference power ground out a 44-13 victory over the short-handed Wolves at a rainy North Kitsap Stadium.

Burlington piled up 487 yards of offense — 352 coming on the ground — as they wore down a Sequim team playing without several starters on both sides of the ball in the first round.

“I think these guys really prepared well and came in here confident and worked hard to compete and try to win this game,” Sequim head coach Erik Wiker said. “I’m proud of them for that fact.”

Still, the seventh-year coach conceded, “Injuries affected everything tonight.”

Sequim could not repeat the same magic from a year ago, when it beat the same Burlington-Edison squad 34-32 in a first round matchup in Poulsbo.

Instead, the sixth-ranked Wolves (9-2 overall) were handed their fourth first round defeat in five years.

With the team missing five starters on defense and four on offense — including all-league stars Frank Catelli (DE/TE) and Preston McFarlen (LB/OL) — the Wolves just didn’t have the depth to handle the No. 10 Tigers.

“Mainly, I feel sorry for the kids as a team, the ones who got hurt and also the other ones that had worked with those kids,” said Wiker, now 1-5 in state playoff games.

“To be able to come to a game like this, which they worked so hard to get to, and then be so short-handed . . . does seem like a little bit of a rip off.”

The Tigers (8-3) certainly showed little mercy with their run-first wishbone attack.

Quarterback Dylan Boe threw for 135 yards and two touchdowns on 7-of-13 passing.

And burly senior fullbacks Tyler Tarabochia (20 carries, 123 yards) and Kyle Reijm (18-110, one touchdown) took turns punishing the Wolves most of the night.

That was especially true during the second half, when the Tigers ran 36 offensive plays while scoring on four of their first five possessions.

That included three straight touchdown drives between the third and fourth quarters for a 41-13 lead that put away a once tight game.

“They had a good passing game and we knew we just had to keep the ball out of their hands,” said Burlington-Edison head coach Bruce Shearer.

“That was the game plan. If we could just keep the chains moving, they don’t have it, we do.”

The normally-potent Wolves offense ran just six offensive plays during the third quarter as Burlington controlled the ball and the clock.

Sequim didn’t manage a second half first down until nine minutes into the fourth quarter.

By that time, the Tigers were comfortably ahead 34-6 and well on their way to a win.

“They were bringing good pressure and they had the ball a long time during the second half,” senior quarterback Drew Rickerson said.

“It’s tough to get something going when you don’t have the ball too much.”

Rickerson finished 19-of-35 for 171 yards and one touchdown.

The three-year starter was hounded by the Tigers’ pass rush much of the second half.

Running back Isaac Yamamoto, who gained 31 yards on the ground in the first two quarters, also had little room to run as he finished with 37 yards on 12 carries for the game.

He also had four receptions for 44 yards.

Sequim had 208 total yards of offense on the game, with all but 64 of those coming during the first two quarters.

“The holes started getting a little smaller, they started crashing in more,” said Yamamoto, who was named the Olympic League MVP this weekend.

“We also had some missed opportunities. The smallest things can change the outcome of a game and the momentum, and unfortunately we did not have a lot of momentum go our way tonight.”

Sequim started out on fire offensively, driving 65 yards on 13 plays during its opening possession to take an early 6-0 lead.

Rickerson completed a pair of passes on fourth down the keep the march alive, the last of which was a 6-yard touchdown pass to Michael Ballard on a rollout.

The Tigers responded immediately with a five-play, 84-yard march of its own, capped by Cody Larson’s 27 yard run on a sweep the event ally gave them a 7-6 edge.

Sequim drove two more times into Tiger territory after that, but each time it came up empty on a fourth-down conversion.

That included a Rickerson pass into the end zone that bounced of Chase Bigger’s hands.

Burlington then authored scoring drive on its next two possessions, first with a 6 ½-minute march that ended with a 9-yard Boe touchdown pass to Jacob Schifferi on third-and-goal.

The other was a brief five-play drive following a Yamamoto fumble that resulted in a 33-yard Hunter Torset field goal.

That gave the Tigers a 17-6 halftime edge that would eventually mushroom against a battered Wolves defense in the fourth quarter.

“Definitely being short-handed kind of hurt us on the D-line,” Yamamoto said. “But I give credit to Burlington-Edison and I give credit to this whole team.

“This whole team has come a long way and I can’t be more proud of this team.”

The Wolves graduate 16 seniors from this year’s team, one that overcame the loss of seven offensive and six defensive starters from the 2009 team to win the program’s sixth league title in seven years.

Yet the loss of so many key players in just one week proved to be too much to handle Saturday night.

“This has probably been the team that has gelled the most, worked hard the most together [in my time in Sequim],” Wiker said.

“A lot of people didn’t think we were going to take league and go to state.

“It’s a testimony to those kids working hard, believing in themselves.

“They really maximized their potential and played as a great team.”

Burlington-Edison 44, Sequim 13

Burlington 7 10 3 24– 44

Sequim 6 0 0 7– 13

First Quarter

SE–Ballard 6 pass from Rickerson (run failed)

BE–Larson 33 run (Torset kick)

Second Quarter

BE–Schifferi 9 pass from Boe (Torset kick)

BE–Torset 33 field goal

Third Quarter

BE–Torset 26 field goal

Fourth Quarter

BE–Cavitt 42 pass from Boe (Torset kick)

BE–Seeger 4 run (Torset kick)

SE–Rickerson 1 run (Koonz kick)

BE–Reijm 2 run (Torset kick)

BE–Torset 37 field goal

Individual Stats

Rushing– SE: Yamamoto 12-37, Rickerson 7-0. BE: Tarabochia 20-123, Reijm 18-110, Boe 5-59, Larson 2-33, Bajema 2-24, Seeger 2-5, Cavitt 1-4, Leer 1-(minus 1), Burt 4-(minus 5).

Passing–SE: Rickerson 19-35-0, 171. BE: Boe 7-13-0, 135.

Receiving– SE: Ballard 5-64, Yamamoto 4-44, Bigger 3-39, Hall 6-20. BE: Cavitt 4-109, Schifferi 2-21, Tarabochia 1-5.

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