By Pierre LaBossiere
Olympic Peninsula News Group
SEQUIM — The Forks football team got physical and bounced back from their first loss of the year by thoroughly dominating Friday Harbor on Saturday 40-6.
The game was played at a neutral field in Sequim because the Friday Harbor team had to take two ferries to get back home.
The nonleague win got Forks back on the winning track at 5-1 after a loss at Raymond last week. The Spartans have some huge Pacific 2B League games coming up. Friday Harbor, a 2B school at the same level as Forks, came in to Saturday’s game with a 3-1 record.
“We need to be thinking about playoff football,” coach Trevor Highfield said to his players after the win. “This isn’t about beating another team, it’s about being the best version of ourselves.”
“Our defense played extremely well,” Highfield said. “It’s about getting back to tackling low. I’m very proud of our offensive line. They did a great job.” He especially singled out center Sebastian Qunneke as having a big game.
The Spartans were physical on offense and defense, knocking two Friday Harbor quarterbacks out of the game with hard hits. Landin Davis blitzed and pressured the quarterback time and again.
“He’s a dynamic player. We were moving him all over the place,” Highfield said.
Gunner Rogers, who had more than 150 yards of offense running and receiving, said getting back to winning “feels great.”
“We’re always trying to go 1-0. Our line freed us up. [Quarterback] Bubba [Hernandez] made better reads. Everything was just better.”
“[Raymond] was a tough game. We came back strong defensively,” said Sloan Tumaua, one of the team’s leaders on defense. We were told [Friday Harbor] is a pretty tough team. We wanted to prove that we’re up there, too.”
Several Spartans had huge games. Nate Dahlgren, seeing his first full action in a while, had two touchdowns, one a 1-yard plunge after a 44-yard pass from Hernandez to Rogers set up the Spartans with a first-and-goal. The second was a spectacular 12-yard run in which he broke tackles from seemingly the entire Friday Harbor defense.
Hernandez had an 11-yard run for a touchdown, then on a spectacular run of his own, broke several tackles and got loose down the middle of the field for a 65-yard touchdown.
Landin Davis had a 59-yard catch and run, while Brody Lausche scored a 15-yard touchdown. Rogers was awarded late with an 8-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter. Brody Lausche also had a 15-yard touchdown.
On defense, the front line was dominant with numerous quarterback sacks and tackles for losses. The high point of the game for the defense came at the very end of the first half as the Wolverines drove to the 1-yard line. With time for one play, Friday Harbor tried a run up the middle, but the Spartans’ defense stuffed the play to keep the Wolverines off the scoreboard in the first half. That drive was the only time Friday Harbor got past the 50-yard line all half.
Cashtien Barajas added an interception in the second half, and in the closing minutes, Noah Foster broke up a certain touchdown pass in the end zone to keep the Wolverines at 6 points.