Sequoia has already faced its fair share of adversity through three games, and it will look to remain perfect as it faces Valley Christian (Dublin) on Friday night.
Valley Christian (4-0) is coming off a 42-0 win against Lower Lake last week. The win matched the Vikings’ season total from a year ago when it reached the first round of the North Coast Section Division IV playoffs.
Sequoia coach Rob Poulos commended Valley Christian’s defense and has his team focused on limiting its own mistakes.
Valley Christian has allowed 37 points through four games, including a season-opening win against Peninsula Athletic League Lake Division member Capuchino.
Sequoia (3-0) entered the season with an incredibly young team and has found ways to win as players have gotten accustomed to playing with each other.
“Guys are getting used to playing with each other,” Poulos said. “Players are starting to get some reps.”
With each passing game, Poulos sees his team making fewer mistakes and making better decisions.
The team’s resiliency was also tested early in the season as starting quarterback James Beekley was injured in the Cherokees’ season opener against Branham on Sept. 2 and had season-ending ACL reconstructive surgery on his injured knee.
“We stressed team over individual,” Poulos said about his team following Beekley’s injury. “They rallied and supported James.”
Junior Mike Taylor, who was the starting quarterback for the junior varsity squad last season, has stepped in for the three-year starter and has not missed a beat.
Taylor has gained more confidence with each passing game, throwing for 136 yards and four touchdowns in Sequoia’s 28-7 win against Mazama (Klamath Falls, Ore.) last week.
Poulos said the junior varsity squad runs a similar system to the varsity squad, so Taylor’s transition was not difficult.
“He didn’t try to do too much,” Poulos said. “He really responded, doing what he did last year.”
Senior Josh Lauese has continued to be a catalyst for Sequoia on both sides of the ball, rushing for more than seven yards per carry and more than 300 yards in total.
Several juniors have also moved into starting roles as the season has worn on.
Jordan Veimau, Sam Liotti, Tommy Tatakamotonga and Liam Cotter have all made smooth transitions from junior varsity and have contributed early on.
Five of the six PAL Ocean teams have yet to lose a game, Half Moon Bay being the exception, and Poulos wants to keep the momentum rolling.
“You’d hate to be the first to lose,” Poulos said.
Sequoia has won 16 of its past 18 games, with the only loss in the Central Coast Section Division II final against Willow Glen. The Cherokees also had a tie during the run.
It is the Cherokees’ final game before the start of PAL Ocean Division play, which will kick off next week against Aragon.
The game Friday begins at 7 p.m.
Sequoia (3-0) vs. Valley Christian (4-0)
WHEN: Friday, 7 p.m.
WHERE: Terremere Field, Sequoia High School
LAST WEEK: Sequoia beat Mazama (Klamath Falls, Ore.) 28-7; Valley Christian beat Lower Lake 42-0
NEXT WEEK: Sequoia opens PAL Ocean Division play against Aragon