Our Friday high school previews and picks as we reach the halfway point of the season…….

Good Friday morning. We’re halfway home on the high school football season. Week five sees a pair of road trips for the Valley’s high school boys, with Mount Si headed up to the Sammamish Plateau to meet Skyline, and Cedarcrest taking the trip north to meet Granite Falls. Both games kick off at 7:00 p.m. We’re 4-4 by the way on the picks after another 2-0 week last week.

Mount Si junior receiver Jesiah Irish (center) makes the catch off his fingertips last week of a pass from quarterback Zeke Barden during the Wildcats' contest with Issaquah. This catch, arguably the catch of the year thus far for Mount Si offensively, turned into one of two touchdowns Irish scored in the game, aiding Mount Si's 27-6 win over the Eagles. (Photo courtesy Calder Productions)

Mount Si junior receiver Jesiah Irish (center) makes the catch off his fingertips last week of a pass from quarterback Zeke Barden during the Wildcats’ contest with Issaquah. This catch, arguably the catch of the year thus far for Mount Si offensively, turned into one of two touchdowns Irish scored in the game, aiding Mount Si’s 27-6 win over the Eagles. (Photo courtesy Calder Productions)

Mount Si Wildcats @ Skyline Spartans, Skyline HS, Sammamish: The photo above says it all. Boy, was that one heckuva catch or what? Last week’s 27-6 win for the Wildcats against Issaquah which evened Mount Si’s record at 2-2 (1-1 Kingco) on the season was headlined by that catch that turned into six points for the Wildcats, courtesy of one Jesiah Irish. But the junior receiver and his Mount Si teammates will be in for a very difficult challenge tonight on the road facing the Spartans, who are 3-1, 2-0 in Kingco after a 38-14 blowout win over Newport last week. Last season, Skyline blasted Mount Si 44-7 in a neutral-site affair at Eastlake High School down the street from the Skyline campus in Sammamish as SHS’ stadium was in the midst of wrapping up renovations and expansion, so tonight’s game will be the first for the Wildcats in the Spartans’ refurbished house.

We have a lot here on Skyline, and a quick look at their MaxPreps stats shows they’re deep, and they’re quite loaded.

We’ll start with the offense of course, and it looks as if they have a two-pronged approach at quarterback, with senior Drew Kistner and sophomore Joe Green sharing the snaps there thus far this fall primarily. Kistner comes in having completed 36 of 65 passes for 427 yards and three touchdowns, while Green has completed 38 of 70 attempts for 365 yards and one touchdown. Both players have been picked off multiple times, so the Wildcat defense, led by Jack Weidenbach, will look to add to those totals. However, that Mount Si defense will have its hands full, as there’s several other offensive weapons of note.

Senior Isaiah Shim leads that group. The running back comes in having rushed for almost 500 yards already this season for the Spartans, in 82 carries; he’s averaging over 100 yards a contest and has three 100-plus yard runs for six, with seven total touchdowns on the ground this fall leading Skyline. He can also get’em through the air as well, with eight catches thus far on the season totaling 78 yards and one touchdown. Those numbers only make him the fifth best receiver on the team, however; four of his teammates have all netted better than 100 yards receiving this fall, led by senior C.J. Moore’s 13 catches for 208 yards with one touchdown. Others to watch in this group include seniors Brad Kim, Kai Kang and junior Luke Stiles.

As one can guess, the Wildcats’ defense will have a lot on its plate in this one. How they respond to that will be key to whether Mount Si can pull off the upset.

Defensively, Skyline has two keys in that department. Senior Alex Diegel has 25 tackles this fall, 12 solos and leads the team in sacks with four. Fellow senior Jack McCarthy has 28 tackles on the season, 20 solo and leads the Spartans in tackles resulting in losses of yardage with six. With Mount Si likely set to start senior Zeke Barden again at quarterback tonight as it very much appears at this point – and last week’s game and above photo are a real indication of this in our view – that the best chance for the Wildcats to be successful on offense each week is to have Irish in a receiving position with Barden or Cale Millen under center – Barden’s going to have to think quick on his feet and make snap decisions to avoid what will most certainly be a strong Skyline pressure, led by their two top defenders, both of whom are linebackers.

The Wildcat QB will also need help from his two top rushers – Weidenbach and Max Bonda – for success as well. Weidenbach scored a touchdown in last week’s win while Bonda had one scrubbed by a holding call late in the contest, and that’s another issue as well, the penalties. While the penalty issue was a problem again for them last week, it didn’t end up factoring too greatly into things for Mount Si. That, however, will be a different story this week if it continues. The Wildcats will need to play a much cleaner game as well from that standpoint, as Skyline will be in better position to take full advantage if penalties become an issue again for scarlet and gray.

Looking at this matchup, it looks like a bit of a tall order for the Wildcat boys in this one. We like Skyline. Skyline 31, Mount Si 13

Cedarcrest Red Wolves @ Granite Falls Tigers, Granite Falls HS (Webstream on Tiger Sports TV, link at right in our news links): Cedarcrest High School fans unable to get up to Granite Falls for tonight’s game are in luck, as Granite Falls this season joins Sultan as Cascade Conference schools offering live webstreams of contests. And this matchup tonight, believe it or not, is, we think, a can’t miss.

Both teams are 2-2 overall with the Tigers 1-0 in league and Red Wolves 0-1. GF beat Cedar Park Christian last Friday while Cedarcrest fell at home to King’s, largely due to the efforts of he Knights’ Caleb Perry, who ran roughshod on the Red Wolves defense to the tune of over 200 yards and four touchdowns.

With the playoff system being what it is as we’ve discussed earlier in the season, these two teams are battling it out for what could be a second 2A playoff spot from the Cascade Conference into the week 10 sequence, and considering the Tigers have had a decent start to this season, they’re definitely going to be in position to pull an upset tonight. CHS won this game 57-29 last season and Granite finished 2015 at 1-9. With a new coach this fall, however, the Tigers have already doubled last season’s win total, and a win tonight will go a long way towards establishing themselves under the new regime.

The usuals will be looked to for Cedarcrest – QB Kyle Lupo, RB’s Alex Parnell and Dave Boak, and receiver Jake Kirschenmann – but the thing we watch for tonight is intensity, and in particular, the approach Granite Falls brings to this contest. For them, this really could be a playoff game, so they’ll look to approach it as one, as the rewards for winning could be huge down the road. And they’ll be at home, too, so one has to expect they’ll be putting the heavy word out in the local community up there to come on out and support the team. You could see a big crowd for this game as a result.

Senior receivers Erik Helm, Legend Suddarth and Jordon Heppner will be players to watch for the Tigers, along with junior QB Camden Landrum. Landrum scored three touchdowns in last week’s win over the Eagles for GF.

We think this could be a close one tonight, but we like CHS in this one, as we think they’ll have more weapons to work with offensively. That said, if Granite approaches this the way we’d like to think they will as we discussed previously, and if the Red Wolves fail to respond, it could be a long night for the boys from the lower Valley. Cedarcrest 28, Granite Falls 24

Rhett Workman

About Rhett Workman

Rhett Workman is the editor of the Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal. Workman is a veteran sports journalist, having covered Snoqualmie Valley sports for nearly a decade with the Snoqualmie Valley Record newspaper before starting up the SVSJ. Workman's coverage has earned the support and respect of Valley coaches, players, parents and fans, and the SVSJ continues the standard of coverage that Workman brought to the Valley Record.
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