SPORTS: Port Angeles takes on Sequim in key football game

SEQUIM — It seems the fortunes of two football programs can be traced back to one game five years ago.

It was the second week of the 2004 season, and a seminal moment of sorts for the rebirth of Sequim Wolves football.

That was when the Wolves faced Port Angeles for the first time in 14 years at Civic Field . . . then proceeded to dominate their archrivals in a 37-6 win.

It was a result that would have been unheard of back when Port Angeles regularly beat up on its smaller neighbors to the east in the 1980s.

“That was a big deal for people in this community,” Sequim head coach Erik Wiker said of the 2004 win. “Sequim never beat Port Angeles. That [win] got people believing.”

They have kept believing, too.

The Class 2A Wolves have gone a combined 42-12 since, including two more wins against the 3A Riders (see story on Page B3). They’ve also claimed four league titles and become a postseason regular with five straight playoff appearances.

Meanwhile, Port Angeles is on its fourth different head coach, Dick Abrams, since that game with a record of 15-33.

The Riders’ coach in the 2004 game, Dave Frisell, lasted only one year. Matt Gracey and Keith Moorman led the Green-and-White for two years apiece with varying results.

Now, as the two teams meet tonight in Sequim at 7 p.m., it wouldn’t be all that shocking if the Wolves topped the Riders once again.

In fact, quite the opposite.

After all, it’s the Wolves (1-0 overall) who are coming off a 51-0 drubbing of Forks and are ranked as high as No. 6 in Class 2A in a number of state polls.

The Riders (0-1), on the other hand, are still acclimating to Abrams’ new system following a 26-12 season-opening loss at North Mason.

“The best thing about high school football is both teams have to show up and play the game,” Wiker said, deflecting any idea that his team is the favorite tonight.

“I don’t think the kids have big heads because I don’t think the kids want to lose to PA.”

They certainly will come in with a great deal of confidence.

Sequim’s new shotgun spread offense fired on all cylinders in last week’s win, amassing 431 yards in a variety of ways.

Quarterback Drew Rickerson picked apart the Spartan secondary, completing 13-of-14 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns, while running back Travis Decker ran for 108 yards and two touchdowns on just eight carries.

The performance was enough to impress Abrams, who watched the game tape earlier this week.

“They looked really good,” Abrams said. “They are a very challenging offense, and they have some good personnel to run it with too.

“It’s real tough to defense that, especially when you don’t see it every week.”

The Port Angeles offense showed signs of life in the late stages of last week’s loss, scoring a pair of touchdowns on Cameron Moon runs in the fourth quarter.

But the Riders will surely have their hands full tonight against a Sequim defense that gave up only 114 yards to Forks.

“We’ve just been working on our execution,” Abrams said. “We made some gains against North Mason getting our kids oriented to what we’re trying to accomplish. We’re just trying to fine tune everything.

“We’re excited to get a chance to play Sequim and see if we have improved.”

Yes, five years later, Sequim is the measuring stick for the Riders.

Here’s a rundown of other action this weekend on the Peninsula gridiron:

Chelan at Port Townsend

PORT TOWNSEND — Former Port Townsend head coach and defensive coordinator Nick Snyder and longtime Redskins line coach Phil Harvey return to the Key City for Friday’s 5 p.m. contest as assistant coaches for the Goats.

Chelan’s head coach is Darren Talley, who also had a stint as an assistant coach at Port Townsend.

The trio won’t be able to walk the familiar sidelines of Memorial Field as the downtown Port Townsend stadium is being used as a parking lot for the Wooden Boat Festival.

Instead, the contest takes place at 5 p.m. at Blue Heron Middle School.

Admission is by donation, and all proceeds will benefit the Andy Palmer Memorial Scholarship Foundation.

Palmer, a former Redskins football player, was killed while working as a National Park Service fire fighter in northern California in 2008.

Chimacum at Forks

FORKS — Forks looks to bounce back from a punishing 51-0 defeat to Sequim last week, while Chimacum looks to keep things moving forward after a 12-6 win over Kingston last Friday.

The Spartans blasted the Cowboys 41-8 last season.

Lake Quinault at Neah Bay

NEAH BAY — Lake Quinault coach Ron Hoiness returns to the Elks sidelines for the first time after missing the 2008 season due to injuries suffered in a motorcycle crash.

Lake Quinault and Neah Bay were both eliminated by Wishkah Valley in last year’s Class 1B playoffs., Neah Bay in the quarterfinals and Lake Quinault in the semifinals.

Crescent at Quilcene

QUILCENE — Saturday’s Loggers/Rangers clash will be a divided affair.

Crescent will play its usual eight-man game on offense but will defend against Quilcene’s 11-man offensive attack on defense.

“We aren’t worried about having to play 11 men at all,” Crescent coach Tim Rooney said. “We have plenty of athletes to plug into the three extra spots.”

The game is set for 1 p.m.

King’s Way at Clallam Bay

CLALLAM BAY — The Bruins open their season at home against King’s Way Christian, 44-36 losers to first-year program Sunnyside Christian in Week 1.

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