Holy smokes, fall’s here!!! Week 1 on the Valley high school gridiron and we’re back with the previews and picks for another season!

Good Friday morning. We’ll have last night’s news and another preview for you soon, but it’s high school sports time as the 2018-19 high school sports season kicks off tonight with the first week of football games. Mount Si and Cedarcrest both open with nonleague foes this week, and we’re going to lead it off this week with the Red Wolves at Sammamish. The Wildcats host Wenatchee, and both games kick off at 7:00 p.m.

Cedarcrest Red Wolves @ Sammamish Totems, Sammamish HS, Bellevue – Even though Cedarcrest didn’t end up in Kingco this fall after the dissolution of the Cascade Conference this spring forced the Red Wolves to find a new league home (they are in Wesco this fall), CHS’s first two games of the season happen to be against the Kingco 2A schools, starting tonight with this road clash against the Totems in Bellevue.

We featured the Red Wolves on Tuesday in our football preview, and if you want to see that, that’s here. In a nutshell, under center tonight will be senior quarterback Gavin McDermott, as he aims to fill some very big shoes vacated by the graduation of former QB Aaron Davenport back in June. There are several other seniors of note, led by Tyler Gray, who we expect will provide significant leadership this season for Cedarcrest.

Sammamish this fall is competing as an independent outside of Kingco, and with just around three dozen kids total on their roster, the program continues to deal with the lack of turnout issues that have dominated that squad for years.

Seniors to watch on the Totems will include QB Coby Akana, receivers Brandon Zanders and Kisean Rogers, running back Daniel Sushkin and linemen Isaiah Kuewa and Erik Patterson.

CHS as we told you on Tuesday is also dealing with numbers issues (their roster size this fall should be somewhere around 40-50 kids, maybe a few more), but should have a few more available bodies tonight to work with. With this in mind, and considering last season’s winless campaign, we think this will be a game that should speak big volumes about where the Red Wolves will end up this season in what we expect for them to be a competitive league environment in which they should be in better position to be successful. We of course do not expect them to finish winless again, but we also don’t look for them to win their division within the Northwest District 2A league. We’re thinking around three-four wins is probably attainable for the Red Wolves this season, and if they can achieve this, that will be a nice foundation to build from as they look to regain competitive footing within the Northwest District.

It should be cautioned though that this building process will take multiple years and will be influenced by factors that are outside of the program’s immediate control, such as turnout within the junior football program and the overall student population numbers at the school and whether those will grow in the coming years. That all said, we trust coach Billy Ojeda and his staff will have the boys ready tonight, and we look for a win. Close, yes, but a win and they can get this season started off right. Cedarcrest 17, Sammamish 7

Mount Si Wildcats vs. Wenatchee Panthers, Mount Si HS, Snoqualmie – With the changes this year for Kingco 4A (divisional format), that has created an opportunity for the Wildcats to schedule some nonleague games to start the season, and they open things tonight with a rarity – a game against a team from east of the Cascades.

Coach Charlie Kinnune told us last week that part of his motivation for scheduling Wenatchee is that he’s wanted to play a team from the other side of the mountains, something which has not occurred outside of a couple of other times (most notably their state playoff game at Kamiakin in 2006 in the Tri-Cities) during the 27 seasons that Kinnune has coached Mount Si, and something which we would like to see more of within the conference, especially against teams from the Tri-Cities or Spokane.

Wenatchee finished 3-8 last season but has a solid group back that should be competitive in the Columbia Basin/Big Nine conference, which consists of several 4A schools in Central Washington. Senior Jaden Christoferson we’d look for to be under center at QB tonight, and he’ll have receivers Mario Murillo and Trey Stegeman along with running back Michael Seims, all of whom are seniors, to help him out.

You know who Mount Si has. Millen. Mostofi. Barrett. Botten. Smith (if he’s ready to play tonight). Norah (if he needs to go in Smith’s place at running back). The line, led by Macko. The Wildcats escaped last Friday’s Scarlet and Gray action with no significant injuries, so Paine Smith is probably the only question mark of note tonight for this group. That said, considering the contributions of Cole Norah in Smith’s place last Friday, we’d anticipate he’ll be fine if he needs to play. But with the air attack led by senior QB Cale Millen likely to be the focal point, Norah/Smith will be more used in order to mix things up a bit and keep Wenatchee’s “D” off balance.

It’s going to be a bit of a bus ride for Wenatchee over here – 90 minutes over two passes and then traffic delays if those pop up. The fatigue factor could be an issue, but if the Panthers get out of the gate early and get quick points, that could make things interesting.

That all said, we like where Mount Si sits and we expect them to open the season strong tonight with a “W”. Mount Si 28, Wenatchee 10

2019 season: 0-0
2018 season (IWRC): 14-6

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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