DEVELOPING STORY: Mount Si football rebounds from slow start, blasts Chiawana in opening round of state 4A playoffs

We’ll update this for you tomorrow with our full story on this one, but it’s going to be a fun bus ride back to the Valley tonight for the Mount Si High School football team, as they went into Edgar Brown Stadium in Pasco and overcame some early adversity to run away with a 46-21 win over Chiawana to advance into next week’s 4A WIAA high school state football playoff quarterfinals, where they will be taking on Lake Stevens, who beat Union earlier today to themselves advance.

QB Clay Millen threw for six touchdown passes, four of which went to senior receiver Brayden Holt, as Mount Si rebounded from an early 7-0 hole with their second straight defensive safety in as many games, and that big defensive play sparked the Wildcats, who then went on to score 44 more unanswered points to put this one away. Mount Si moves to 9-2 on the season.

More as we noted tomorrow for you here.

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The trail to state hardware could be blazed by pioneering Mount Si girls’ diver today…

As we noted a short bit ago, Mount Si High School’s Kaitlyn Holt is slated to be in the finals today for the state 4A high school girls’ diving championship at the state meet down in Federal Way. She sits in 13th after the semifinals which took place yesterday, with a score of 197.95. The Wildcat sophomore rose to that 13th place after finishing 19th in the preliminary round, scoring 115.25 in that event.

The diving final takes place later today. Also, Wildcat teammate Theodora McCabe competed in the 50 yard freestyle preliminary, and finished 23rd, clocking 25.51 seconds and missing qualification for the finals today, with only the top eight placers making it.

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To the Mid-Columbia we go. Mount Si. Chiawana. It’s the state high school football playoffs, baby. Round one in the Basin this afternoon, and let’s talk about it now!

So, with the volleyball out of the way, we now talk about what perhaps everyone will be focused on today. We’ve been told by MSHS gymnastics coach Kelly Loranger that she anticipates a number of her athletes to not be at their practice set to begin shortly as they probably will be on their way east. You know about volleyball, those girls we think will also be wanting to pay attention. So this football game is something that other Mount Si athletes will be keeping an eye on. But not just the athletes. Their fellow students and an entire community will hop on I-90 shortly to get over there – or if they stay behind, hop on their favorite laptop or tablet to watch the live web broadcast of this one. It’s the playoffs, baby, and for the second straight season, Mount Si’s in them.

KINGCO 4A FOOTBALL
WIAA STATE 4A FIRST ROUND – LOSER OUT
MOUNT SI WILDCATS AT CHIAWANA RIVERHAWKS
EDGAR BROWN STADIUM, PASCO – KICKOFF 1:00 P.M. (SWX, TV BROADCAST IN TRI-CITIES AND YAKIMA, WEBSTREAM FOR VALLEY VIEWERS ONLY – SEE NEWS LINKS AT RIGHT FOR LINK)

The boys are waking up after a nice leisurely trip east yesterday, maybe not so leisurely – they did stop and get a quick practice in at Central Washington University before arriving in Pasco shortly before 5:00 last night. They had a nice dinner once they arrived at the team hotel, which, according to photos taken by Mount Si Football’s Twitter feed, consisted of spaghetti and meatballs, salad and garlic bread along with cookies, water, tea and lemonade.

A good meal for sure for the boys, one which we hope gives them enough energy to get ready for this big one today. We told you earlier in the week about Chiawana’s strengths, more on that in a moment. So who will the Riverhawks be paying attention to?

QB Clay Millen: Millen was 17 of 21 in pass completions/attempts for 244 yards and a touchdown last week in their surprisngly strong 34-20 win over Monroe that put them into the playoff game today as the 11th seed against the sixth seed from east of the Cascades. The junior has thrown for over 2,200 yards this season and could be the most explosive quarterback this Chiawana defense has faced this season.

RB Cole Norah: Mount Si fans, and perhaps the junior himself, have been waiting for him to deliver in the fashion he did last week – 24 carries for 130 yards and two TD’s in the win over Monroe. In his previous five games since coming back from a knee injury that delayed the start of his season, he combined in those five games for 25 carries and 151 yards, so his output against the Bearcats basically doubled the combined five games in one sitting. If Norah can get things going to force things to open up today, that’ll be good news for the Wildcats. Additionally, he had six receptions for 96 yards, so perhaps Norah becomes a big two-way threat today. Watch that closely and see how Chiawana responds.

WR Brayden Holt: About the only player on this team whose focus could be elsewhere – and that’s completely understandable if it is (more on that in a moment), the senior caught four passes for 67 yards and a touchdown in last week’s win over Monroe, and will probably be the main guy Chiawana’s secondary will be paying attention to. It’s an especially big day in the Holt household as his younger sister Kaitlyn’s blazing a trail for Mount Si’s girls’ swim and dive team that hopefully will end in some state hardware today – she earned a berth into today’s final day of competition in the 4A state diving meet with a solid effort yesterday. We’ll talk about how Kaitlyn did later, but suffice it to say, this family’s on cloud nine as they wake up this morning, and perhaps this might also fuel Brayden to a huge day today, we’ll see.

WR/CB Aidan Dougherty: You know, this kid’s a baseball recruit, having verbaled earlier this fall to national college baseball powerhouse Oregon State. And he’s just a sophomore. But, if he continues to do as well as he did last week for Mount Si on the gridiron, he might just have the Beavers and their coach Jonathan Smith pay him a visit to perhaps offer him a football scholarship, too. A solid four catches offensively for 33 yards, but he made perhaps the biggest defensive play of the night last week – and there were several of them including a safety – with an interception that locked up the win for Mount Si a la Alex Hiebert in Camas in 2007 in the first round of the state playoffs that year. Hiebs, we still remember that pick to this day and Dougherty’s efforts certainly rank up there in that department.

Now, about the Riverhawks. The biggest thing we saw when watching their video earlier this week, and we discussed this yesterday, was how similar they looked to Mount Si in a lot of how they do things. So what this, to us, then becomes, is a battle of not just athletes, but coaching staffs. Essentially, what we see is a matchup that’s going to be decided on two things: one, how well each team – coaching staff and players – studies the film and preps for today’s game based on that film study, and two, how well each team – coaching staff and players – executes the game plan they want to execute today. You know about Chiawana’s defense and how well they’ve played this season. Give not just the players – but their coaches, too – the credit there. They’re getting things done, that’s for sure, and we’ll see how they fare today.

Getting things done? Hell, yes. They led the Mid-Columbia Conference in team defense, allowing a total of just 85 points in conference games this season and only 292 rushing yards. Norah’s going to have a tough time with that, but again, if he breaks out, that’ll be good news for MSHS.

When it comes to game preparation, you Mount Si fans know this coaching staff, led by head man Charlie Kinnune, is experienced and knows what it takes to get the boys prepped right. The game time today allowed the Wildcats flexibility if they wanted it to travel this morning, play and come back in one day, saving on the hotel bill and the catering costs from their team dinner last night. But Kinnune opted for the travel yesterday, looking to maintain as close to a normal pre-game schedule of activities for the boys, so hopefully it will all work out in the end. And we suspect it will, except while we don’t know a thing about Chiawana, we would expect their staff, led by head coach Steve Graff, would also have their kids fully prepared as well.

We expected last week’s game for Mount Si to be a close loss to Monroe. Not so. So, in our final analysis today, we suspect today will end up the same as well for the Wildcats – a close loss. Will they go two for two in defying the odds? We’ll see.

CHIAWANA 28, MOUNT SI 24

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Round Three. The final act. Mount Si. Issy. A volleyball state berth on the line. A volleyball season on the line. For both teams. Preview and pick now!

Well, it’s a big Saturday for Mount Si High School fall sports, as both of their remaining teams competing could face the end of their seasons today with losses. So with that, it’s a two-fer of previews and picks and we start up north in Snohomish County with a little volleyball.

KINGCO 4A VOLLEYBALL
WES-KING 4A DISTRICT TOURNAMENT – WINNER TO STATE/LOSER OUT
MOUNT SI WILDCATS VS. ISSAQUAH EAGLES
GLACIER PEAK HIGH SCHOOL, SNOHOMISH – 11AM FIRST SERVE

The Wildcats and Eagles meet for the third and final time this season with one of these teams seeing their season end after this one today. And the first two matchups, first on October 16, then again two Saturdays ago on November 2, were both five-set barnburners, with Issy winning the first on Mount Si’s floor in Snoqualmie before the Wildcats got it done in the Kingco 4A semifinals at Bothell High School to advance them into the league title game against North Creek Election Night November 5, a match won handily by the Jaguars.

So there should be no mystery about who to watch in this one for both teams. Sophomore Bailey Showalter will be the key for Mount Si. She had 27 kills and 28 digs in the Kingco semi against the Eagles, but was limited to 12 kills and only four digs this past Tuesday in the Wildcats’ district semifinal loss to Lake Stevens. Senior Dana Dolan had a regular solid outing of 23 assists and 11 digs against the Vikings earlier this week, but had 43 assists and 14 digs along with five aces against Issy in the Kingco tourney clash.

Fellow senior Bre Fitzgerald will be working hard to avoid this being her last high school game. She’s coming off a 10-kill, eight-dig effort against Lake Stevens, and the Mount Si’er had a monster 16-kill, 19-dig, five-ace effort against Issy last time against them.

We talk a little about the service aces with a couple of these girls, because it’s the serving, folks, that’s going to decide this. The Wildcats collected 20 service aces as a team, including that four-ace string by sophomore Jade Petrzelka, in their win last Saturday over Mount Vernon that put them in the enviable position of getting two shots to go to Yakima. Mount Si, though, only had six aces in being swept handily by Lake Stevens Tuesday, meaning the Vikings were definitely ready to go and make things happen. Same rule today – serve tough, and make the Eagles have to work. Let the chips fall where they may.

Issy swept Bothell Tuesday to advance to today’s game. Junior Sadie Bacon has been tough for Mount Si to deal with. Seven kills against the Cougars and she also had seven against the Wildcats last time out but as you remember on October 16, she dropped a season-high 24. Fellow junior Abby May had nine kills against Mount Si in their match in the Kingco semis, and had eight of those along with 19 digs against Bothell. Both of these players know the stakes are high, and both will need to be at the top of their games today for the Eagles to advance.

It’s been seven years since Mount Si’s been to state, seven years since the end of the heyday this program has had under their longtime head coach Bonnie Foote. This 2019 season has seen these girls ascend to heights not seen since then, as they look to re-establish the kind of culture and expectations this program had during that period of time when state tournaments were the norm and success in those events was also fairly common. But this Eagle team knows the way there already, having been there last year in fact. So one of the things to watch is how each team responds to the pressure of the moment, especially since this one, once again, is going to probably go five, that’s how good both of these teams are.

Two other factors to keep an eye on – the early start time and how kids respond to that, and also for Mount Si, their overall focus as we’d expect many of the girls will also be doing their best to pay attention to the big football game over east which we’ll talk about shortly here. So a lot to play with in this one that’s for sure.

At the end of the day, though, it just seems so unfortunate that one of these teams has to see their season end today. Both of these teams, had they gone to state, we think would have done very well for themselves. But in the final analysis, we like the experience of Issy in these situations a little better. That proves to be enough in the end for them, as they’ll punch the berth and Mount Si, well, perhaps they’ll be back, but it may be awhile again before they’re in this position.

ISSAQUAH IN 5

Directions to Glacier Peak HS: Glacier Peak High School is located in the hills south of Snohomish, and takes a bit of time to get to. From the Valley, you can take one of two routes:

-I-90 then I-405 to the SR 522 exit, go east on 522 to the SR 9 exit, exit there and head north on SR 9
-SR 203 to Monroe, turn left and head west on US 2 to Snohomish and SR 9, exit there and head south

Whether you come in from the north or south on SR 9, look for Cathcart Way. Turn here (right or left depending on which direction you are coming from) and head west. You’ll go around a bend and along that bend is Little Cedars Elementary School. The high school is next door and both schools share the same access road. Turn right at this access road and the GPHS lot will be on your left.

Food/Gas: The school is smack-dab in the middle of a residential area, so all those options are located in Woodinville, Snohomish, Monroe or along the SR 9 corridor between the two cities. There should however be a concession available today up there so that might be your best best for a bite to eat. Allow about 60-90 minutes travel time for the trip.

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Friday news notes

Good Friday morning.

The NCAA Division II women’s soccer postseason has started off with a bang for one Valleyite.

Western Washington University’s Karli White, from North Bend, on Wednesday was named the Great Northwest Athletic Conference’s Player of the Year, and last night, she showed why she earned that tremendous honor.

The senior, a 2015 Mount Si HS grad, scored a goal – her fifth of the season – pacing the Vikings, who doubled up Central Washington 2-1 in the semifinals of the conference tournament in Seattle. White, who also landed on the All-GNAC First Team, finished a feed from teammate Darby Doyle in the 31st minute by ripping it into the top corner of the CWU goal. She started the game and worked 62 minutes recording six shots, two on goal including the aforementioned goal which helped put Western into the league title game tomorrow against host Seattle Pacific. The game is at 1:00pm at Interbay Stadium in Seattle.

For White, the conference PoY award was her first – and the program’s fourth, their first since 2016. Good stuff and we offer our congrats!

More on tomorrow’s Mount Si football game
We now wind down our discussion of tomorrow’s Mount Si High School football game with some notes:

-Chiawana looks similar to Mount Si in a lot of ways: We had a chance finally to review some of the film from Chiawana on MaxPreps and when you get right down to it, it seems as if this team in a lot of ways plays a lot like Mount Si. We liked QB Preston Vine in the film – he looks to have a skill set similar to that of Wildcat QB Clay Millen, and that third-string RB, Roy Colvin, we told you about earlier this week will also be a factor perhaps if he can solve the physical Mount Si defense. As MSHS’s defense is also very strong, what this is probably shaking out to is it’s going to be a low-scoring defensive battle that could favor Mount Si if it can get out of the blocks strong early. Our final thoughts on this tomorrow but suffice it to say Chiawana we expect will have a lot of similarities to what the Wildcats perhaps just faced with Monroe last week.

-Game on TV/web: We mentioned earlier this week as well about the broadcast that was reportedly scheduled – well it’s on. SWX is broadcasting the game tomorrow. SWX, as we told you, is a digital sports/news channel based in Spokane that only broadcasts in eastern Washington, northern Idaho and Montana, which of course means the TV broadcast is not available locally in the Valley. However, it appears the channel streams as well, and that webstream appears to be available in the Valley. We’ll have a link to that for you in our newslinks. We should also mention that there appears to be no radio broadcast scheduled, so this SWX stream, or attending it in person, will be the only ways to see the game live if you are a Mount Si fan.

With that, we now get ready, and the boys do, too. They’re expected to leave later today for the Tri-Cities and will spend the night over there this evening to get them well-prepped for the big game tomorrow.

Mount Si volleyball playoff opponent set for tomorrow
The Wildcat ladies also will be playing tomorrow – for their own trip to state, also in the Tri-Cities. To do this, though, they’ll have to face a foe they probably hoped they wouldn’t have to face – Issaquah.

The Eagles swept Bothell last night in three sets in the WesKing 4A district loser out game at Glacier Peak High School meaning two of the top teams all season in Kingco square off tomorrow for one state berth. The 11am game is at GPHS in Snohomish. The winner moves on and the loser is done.

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