Good Friday morning. We’ll wrap up a busy day yesterday as we move on throughout this Friday, but we start this morning with a look at tonight’s high school gridiron action. The second half of the regular season starts tonight with both Valley high schools at home really needing to win to keep themselves in the playoff discussion.
Mount Si Wildcats vs. Eastlake Wolves, Mount Si HS, Snoqualmie, 7:00 – Tonight’s game is shaping up to be perhaps the biggest game of the season for Mount Si. Currently, the Wildcats are 3-2 in league (3-2 overall), with the Wolves at 4-0 (4-1) and ahead of Mount Si by 1 ½ games in the standings. As we discussed briefly last week, the Week 10 playoff bracket has come out, and it shows Kingco with just four playoff berths, and Mount Si is right now holding on to one of those spots. But that hold is just barely, as they are fighting with as many as four other teams currently for possibly only two of those spots with both the Wolves and Skyline currently undefeated in league. A win tonight is critical for the Wildcats if they want to remain very much in the discussion. A loss here would leave Mount Si with three league losses and that might not be enough to make it to the playoffs.
So, let’s talk about the keys to victory. Simply put, it’s that they’ve got to avoid a slow start like they had last week against Inglemoor. Yes, the Wildcats won that game going away, but that was only after the Vikings opened with the early lead in the contest. Senior QB Harrison Danna will have all of his top targets at his disposal tonight, you, of course, know the names Mitchell, Dumas, Swain, et.al. But there is rain in the forecast and that could mean more action on the ground. Meaning a young man with a fan base extending all the way back to the City of Brotherly Love could be the big factor tonight. We’re talking about one Mr. Max Bonda, and the junior should be ready. He, after all, scored a pair of touchdowns last week in the 45-20 blowout of Inglemoor, and has been a pivotal piece all season long. So perhaps look for him to step it up tonight.
Eastlake comes in last week off a 41-3 blowout on Homecoming over Newport, and the Wolves have a fairly experienced group. Senior Mark Whitley should get the call under center at QB tonight, as he continues to work to fill the huge void at that position left by the graduation of last year’s star signal-caller, Richard “Blue” Thomas. Seniors who could see action on the ground include Javier Rios and John Monahan, and receivers with experience and likely to see some passes include William Esser and Cory Flynn.
Mount Si is at home, and this very much has the feel of a playoff game, and we’re just starting the second half of the schedule. If the Wildcats approach this and play like it’s a playoff game, we could see success. Should be a close one, but we’ll take Mount Si in a nail-biter. Mount Si 24, Eastlake 23
Cedarcrest Red Wolves vs. Sultan Turks, Cedarcrest HS, Duvall, 7:00 – The Red Wolves return home looking to rebound from what was a very difficult loss last week against Lakewood. CHS, after last Friday’s 35-18 loss to the Cougars, sits at 1-2 in Cascade play (2-3 overall) and tied with Lakewood and Granite Falls for the second and final 2A Week 10 conference playoff spot. The loss, however, cost the Red Wolves a head-to-head tiebreaker with Lakewood, making games like tonight’s more important. CHS will need a win to perhaps keep themselves in the discussion. But it could be a challenge. Not only did they lose last week, they saw several key players go down with injuries.
RB’s Joey Hixon and Ryan Golden, along with lineman Brad Grey and receiver Jake Jewell were all hurt in the game last Friday, and whether they play tonight could go a long way towards deciding how things end up. We’ll see if we can get a status report on those four for you later. In any event, the Red Wolves still will have players getting it done. Expected under center tonight is QB Cody Banks, fresh off an 11-36 effort netting 171 yards, a touchdown and interception in last week’s game up north. RB Dave Boak had a good game (12 carries, 79 yards) and receiver Jeffrey Hepner had an even stronger performance (6 catches, 141 yards, TD). So if those guys step up and do what they’re capable of doing, then CHS will be just fine. Also keep an eye on RB Alex Parnell should Hixon and Golden not be able to go tonight; Parnell could get more work as a result of that. He had six carries for 22 yards in last week’s game.
Sultan is also 1-2 in Cascade play, having throttled Granite Falls September 18, but the Turks have also been blown out twice in the league, to Archbishop Murphy and King’s. Sultan is 1-4 overall, with both of their non-conference games being blowout losses as well. Tanner Belcher, a junior, is likely to be the signal caller under center for the Turks tonight, and among the players to watch include senior RB Taylor Boucher and senior receiver Tyler Roufs.
One thing that has helped provide recognition and exposure to the SHS program over the past several years is the school’s webcast operation, called TurkPride.TV. Well, Sultan received a national award recently for the operation, from the National Federation of State High School Associations. More on that from the Everett Herald. One thing about the Sultan broadcasts is that not only does it give their kids an opportunity for greater exposure in their community up in the Sky Valley of Snohomish County, but the whole league benefits by having their schools’ road matchups against the Turks televised; currently, Sultan only handles home games on their TurkPride broadcasts.
One thing that we hope for in the future is that the success of the broadcasts will rub off on the remainder of league schools, and that everyone will give such broadcasts a try. So we offer a suggestion for CHS principal Clarence Lavarias, and Riverview School District leaders: Start something up like this for Cedarcrest. Such a program would not only provide your sports teams exposure, but also give students interested in broadcasting-related career fields great “on-the-job” style training.
Off the soapbox, and here’s our final thought. We look for a win tonight for CHS, but it could be a challenge getting there if they’re short-handed. Cedarcrest 28, Sultan 20