SVSJ preview: MSHS football faces brutal schedule to open season, which if they survive, could put them in position to be among the best in state

EDITOR’S NOTE: We begin our 2016-17 high school sports coverage in earnest today with the first of a series of team previews for Valley high school fall sports teams. In the coming days, we will feature previews of what fans can expect from selected teams both at Mount Si and Cedarcrest High Schools. We have in the pipeline previews for MSHS boys’ golf, soccer and volleyball, along with CHS football and cross country, and are hopeful we’ll be able to add more teams to this list. So look for that coverage here at the SVSJ over the coming days. 

Mount Si High School’s football team has what the SVSJ believes to be the absolute toughest schedule out of the gate of any high school football team in any classification in the state of Washington during the first four weeks of the 2017 campaign. But that’s not deterring the Wildcats.

Mount Si High School football junior quarterback Cale Millen, seen here last November throwing a pass to a Wildcat receiver during their final game of the season against Everett, leads Mount Si into battle in the 2017 season. (File photo, courtesy Calder Productions)

“Well, I don’t think there’s anybody in the state that has a schedule that we have,” said Mount Si coach Charlie Kinnune of the first four weeks of the season for his team, which starts this Friday with a game at Skyline, and also features games against the other title favorites in Kingco 4A, those being Bothell, Woodinville and Eastlake. “We’ve been prepared for it. It’s been a great motivator for us and we’ve had a good offseason. We’ve trained hard and nobody’s going to be in better condition than we are.”

These first four weeks will pretty much determine the postseason fate for Mount Si, as they are also in the league title hunt along with the Spartans, Cougars, Wolves and Falcons. Junior quarterback Cale Millen, seen, along with senior all-purpose player Jesiah Irish, as among the top returners this fall for a Wildcat team that finished 5-5 last season and missed the playoffs, believes the team will be tested. “It’ll definitely test us to see where were at compared to the other teams in Kingco. I believe Kingco is the best conference all around in the state,” he said.

That said, kicker Reed Paradissis, a junior who could be among the best at his position this fall in the conference, isn’t scared. “It’s actually the most confident I’ve ever felt going into a season, so I think that’s going to play a big role,” he said.

Among the other top returners to keep an eye on include linemen Collin Flesch, Michael Collins and Tank Brewster. All three are seniors, and the line, both on offense and defense, will once again be a staple of what the Wildcats do this season. How the linemen fare physically will be a big factor in each game, especially these first four very critical ones of the season.

Top newcomers include sophomores Colby Botten and Paine Smith, both of whom will be running backs this fall, and fellow sophomore quarterback George Strunk. Strunk threw for two touchdown passes in the Scarlet and Gray game this past Friday night, and could hear his name called if the situation requires it (i.e. Millen is injured). “We’re going to continue to develop George,” Kinnune said. “We’re going to continue to work him hard. George has got to get stronger, but he does some good things.”

The Kingco 4A conference this season has a new school, that being Snohomish County’s North Creek. North Creek, located near Maltby and which services the Snohomish County territory that is part of the Northshore School District, has no seniors and is not likely to be a big factor this season. At least that’s how Millen feels. “It shouldn’t impact anything at all. We’re going to go into every game ready to win,” he said.

Kinnune, though, noted that it did impact his team a little bit. “It kind of threw a wrench into things,” he said, especially with the schedule. The schedule this year features a sort-of “bye” week for each team in the league during the course of league play, in which that team will play a non-league opponent. Mount Si’s out-of-conference “bye” is in the middle of the season, in week 5 at the end of September, and they will be traveling to Sedro-Woolley to meet the 2A’s Cubs, a top 2A team in the Northwest Conference.

If Mount Si survives the first month’s gauntlet, the postseason will be very much attainable, with four berths available to the conference into the opening round of 32. Kinnune likes his team’s postseason chances, and also the future as well for the Wildcats. “If we get out of our league and we’re comfortable, we can make a deep run. I think we have a couple years here where we can make deep runs. Our freshman team is solid and I think we have four years of really good football (ahead),” he said.

The Wildcats meet the Spartans this Friday, then host Bothell and former Mount Si assistant Tom Bainter in the home opener next week. Then the Wildcats travel to Eastlake then host Woodinville on Sept. 22. Homecoming this season is on October 13, when Mount Si hosts Inglemoor. Game times for all games are at 7:00 p.m.

In terms of media coverage, at present, none of the games this year are scheduled for TV broadcast on ROOT Sports, as has been the case over the past few seasons. However, the Sedro-Woolley game in week five is likely to have some form of radio or web broadcast, as Sedro-Woolley and the other schools in the NWC have good radio/web coverage. Those plans will be announced at a later date and we’ll be sure to let you know. Additionally, the program has shifted its website presence this season; after a long association with Snoqualmie-based Starting Gate Websites, run by Mount Si grad – and former star running back – Sean Snead and his father, Dave, the program has partnered with SportsEngine for its website; you can see that through our newslinks at right.

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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