The Lower Valley’s turn at the playoffs on the high school gridiron is tonight. Cedarcrest. Liberty. Preview and thoughts now…….

With Mount Si getting their playoffs out of the way last night, the scene shifts to the lower Valley tonight, and a Cedarcrest team that looks to be a heavy underdog in their playoff game against a strong Liberty team, a Patriots squad that’s already played the Red Wolves this season – in week two September 7 – and blasted them in the CHS home opener 50-3.

NORTHWEST DISTRICT 2A FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS – LOSER OUT
CEDARCREST RED WOLVES AT LIBERTY PATRIOTS
LIBERTY HIGH SCHOOL, RENTON, 7:00 KICKOFF

The Patriots have been among the top teams all season in Kingco 2A/3A, and are led by QB Sam Brown. Brown attempted just eight passes in the game against the Red Wolves in week two, but completed six of them for 144 yards and three touchdowns, so he’s got a big arm. He’s gone 54-85 for 860 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season, which has seen Liberty go 6-2 with losses to 3A Bellevue and 4A Issaquah.

Five of those catches – including all three that went for touchdowns – that night belonged to receiver Jake Wright, and he’ll be a busy presence we expect once again on home turf tonight. Wright is the leading receiver for the blue, silver and green, having caught 21 passes for 334 yards and seven touchdowns. Jacob Thoresen also could be a factor through the air for Liberty; he did not catch any passes in the earlier game against Cedarcrest but has 16 of them this season for 309 yards and three touchdowns.

There is tremendous balance on the ground as well. Wright has also been strong in the running game, demonstrating he’s a solid multi-faceted threat. He’s carried the ball 37 times for 279 yards this season with two touchdowns, and had one carry in the game against CHS in Duvall, for 14 yards. Ryan Kirschner leads the ground attack for Liberty; he carried the ball three times for 42 yards in the week two win over Cedarcrest and has 27 carries this fall for 304 yards and three touchdowns.

Defensively, Thoresen’s been money on that side of the ball. He had five tackles in that earlier game with the Red Wolves including one for a sack and leads the team this season with 68 tackles, three for loss including that sack. Briar Cameron also is a player to watch for Liberty on defense; he had three tackles in the earlier game with Cedarcrest and has 54 on the season.

The Red Wolves that night were led by Fredrick Reid, who had 12 carries for 37 yards. But the quarterback play, which has been a concern for us all year, was problematic in that one, as CHS QB’s Gavin McDermott and Cameron Kohlruss combined to go just 3-14 for 39 yards. As you know, the last three weeks have seen offensive struggles for this team as a 3-2 start has, with the three-game losing streak, turned into a 3-5 campaign and at least to us offered us, as we’ve mentioned already, evidence of why CHS is playing within this 2A Northwest cluster as opposed to within the Kingco this fall. Outside of perhaps Sammamish, who the Red Wolves beat in the season opener back on August 31, we, considering what the last three weeks have brought for this team, don’t believe there would have been any other winnable games within Kingco for this CHS team.

McDermott should get the call under center tonight, and also watch Tyler Gray, who has been a strong presence for the Red Wolves this season. Gray has over 750 all-purpose yards on the season including over 400 on the ground, and last week had a season-best 17 carries for 136 yards and a touchdown in their loss to Mountlake Terrace. Reid and Cody Schultz should be among your players to watch defensively for the Red Wolves; Reid led the team in tackles the last time they played the Patriots with 11.

As was the case with last night’s Mount Si game, there’s no secrets for both teams to uncover; both teams have likely been watching film all week of the previous game looking for things to exploit. What they see is what they probably get and what’s more, if the game becomes like it did in week two, the Patriots probably give their second-stringers a lot of work in the second half.

It has been an end to the season that perhaps the Red Wolves and their fans weren’t exactly hoping for – a three-game losing streak in which they’ve been outscored 94-15 by their opponents, but as we just noted here, it’s this type of scenario which shows to us why they’re where they are. The program will need to continue to work hard to try to improve, and it is hoped that they’ll be in a better league alignment position in two years time that perhaps can help this situation some more. That said, we at the beginning of the year felt that three-four wins was attainable with this schedule, and that was achieved by midseason. So there’s some progress, but the question is, especially with the second half of this season having gone the way it’s gone, was that progress enough? Time will tell.

LIBERTY 45, CEDARCREST 7
This week: 0-1 (Mount Si loss to Woodinville, we picked Mount Si)
Current: 12-5

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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