BELFAIR — Sequim offensive lineman Jake Dethlefsen said he’d never had more fun on a football field.
Wet, muddy and full of fumbles . . . Friday night’s Nisqually/Olympic League showdown was definitely the kind of game only a lineman could love
Of course, it also helps that Dethlefsen’s Wolves handed North Mason its first loss this season, 28-13.
The win, combined with Fife’s 17-12 loss to Eatonville, gave Sequim (4-0 in league, 6-1 overall) sole possession of the league lead with three games to go.
“It was a crazy game,” Sequim coach Erik Wiker said. “[The weather] totally affected the game for sure. I also think that it played out like it should have.
“The better team won.”
Sequim survived the sort of sloppy slugfest common to Friday nights in October, scoring a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns to put away a game it led from the opening minute.
The two teams combined for 12 turnovers in a steady downpour, with Sequim giving it away five times to North Mason’s seven.
Sequim senior Travis Decker made up for a pair of fumbles of his own with 105 yards rushing and a touchdown on 20 carries. His first carry, a 27-yard sweep on the game’s first offensive play, gave the Wolves a 7-0 lead.
Fittingly, it came after North Mason (3-1, 6-1) fumbled the opening kickoff, the first of 13 on the night.
“Holding on to the ball was a problem for both teams,” Decker said. “With the weather and everything, it was a little difficult.
“We knew it was going to be a battle, and that’s what it turned out to be.”
The game featured a pair of future college offensive lineman in Sequim’s Thomas Gallagher and North Mason’s John Fullington (see “Prep notes”).
And it was the Wolves’ front five that shined the most, as Sequim totaled 301 yards of offense to North Mason’s 196.
Sequim’s Isaac Yamamoto had 94 yards of his own and a pair of sacks, while quarterback Drew Rickerson completed 12-of-20 passes for 131 yards, one score and an interception.
The two hooked up on a fluttering 32-yard pass midway through the second quarter that put Sequim on North Mason’s 1-yard line.
Joey Hall punched it in from there for a 14-0 Wolves edge going into the break.
That was thanks in part to three Bulldog turnovers in the first half, one of which came on a fumble inside Sequim’s 10-yard line.
“There was so many mistakes . . . you can’t say we played real well,” Bulldogs coach Phil Pugh said.
“It was that kind of a night with the mud and water everywhere. We just had a few too many mistakes.”
North Mason put together a pair of scoring drives in the third quarter.
The first was set up by Rickerson’s lone interception of the evening, as Kasey Bielec picked off a deflected ball and took it to the Sequim 21-yard line.
Quarterback Josh Lopez found the goal line four plays later, driving a scrum of defenders into the end zone with him for a 14-yard run.
The Bulldogs drove 40 yards in nine plays two possessions later, capped by a Tevin Williams seven-yard sweep that put the score at 14-13 following a Bielec missed extra point.
Sequim responded with a 12-play, 78-yard drive that featured four Yamamoto runs for 29 yards and one reception for 10 yards.
The latter put Sequim at the Bulldog 11.
“You could tell he wanted it,” Wiker said of Yamamoto. “He was running hard, he was going to make things happen, make people miss, and we were going to go down with him or [not].”
Rickerson then found John Textor on a fade route to the left corner of the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown and a 21-13 edge early in the fourth quarter.
The catch was the last of five receptions for Textor, who had 56 yards receiving on the night.
He added an interception to his stat line on North Mason’s next possession on a spectacular leaping grab.
Jeremie Oliver then broke two tackles en route to a 30-yard touchdown run two plays later, putting the game out of reach.
“We had our ups and downs, but I think our team did a great job,” Yamamoto said. “This is a huge win.
“Honestly, I think this is the league championship game right here.
“We’ve just got to keep winning out.”
That starts with next Friday’s home game against Eatonville (3-1, 3-4).
Sequim 28, North Mason 13
Sequim 7 7 0 14– 28
North Mason 0 0 13 0 — 13
S–Decker 27 run (Koonz kick)
S–Hall 1 run (F. Catelli kick)
N–Lopez 14 run (Bielec kick)
N–Williams 7 run (Kick no good)
S–Textor 11 pass from Rickerson (F. Catelli kick)
S–Oliver 30 run (Koonz kick)
Rushing– SE: Yamamoto 10-38, Decker 20-105, Oliver 2-32, Rickerson 3-(minus 2), Hall 1-0, F. Catelli 2-(minus 3). NM: Williams 10-27, Honeycutt 12-30, Crosswhite 2-17, Lopez 17-10, Winslow 3-12.
Passing–SE: Rickerson 12-20-1, 131. NM: Lopez 10-22-1, 73.
Receiving–SE: Anastasi 2-3, Yamamoto 3-56, Hall 2-17, Textor 5-57. NM: Bielec 1-8, Williams 2-(minus 1), Douglas 5-46, Crosswhite 2-10.