Mount Si football’s dreams of Kingco title, undefeated season dashed with title-game loss to Woodinville

Last night, Mount Si High School’s football program got a rare chance to do something special. It has been 20 years since the Wildcats took the Kingco title in football, and while this team has had plenty of success in those past 20 years under head coach Charlie Kinnune, the team, largely thanks to the dominance of Bellevue during much of that span, hasn’t been able to bring home that coveted hardware. So last night’s Kingco 4A title game likely took on an even bigger importance for the Wildcats, as they hosted Woodinville. The team was looking to accomplish something special not just for themselves, but be able to share that with many others, too. However, the Falcons proved to be up to the task, and found just enough at the end to get the job done and dash those Mount Si title hopes – and also dreams of an undefeated season.

Blake Glessner’s 47-yard field goal midway through the fourth, the third of the night for the Woodinville kicker, gave the Falcons the lead for the first time all game, and as it turned out to stay, as Woodinville stunned Mount Si 16-14 and took home the Kingco crown and the league’s top seed into next week’s opening round playoff games. They are expected to face Federal Way while for Mount Si, they, too, will be playing next week, again at home in Snoqualmie as the Kingco’s second seed, facing a team from the South Puget Sound League to be determined. That opponent is expected to be any of Sumner, Curtis from Tacoma or Rogers from Puyallup.

That all said, this loss will sting, and according to Wildcat head coach Charlie Kinnune, it will force his program to soul-search a bit. “We’re going to find out about everybody in this program right now,” he said. “Everybody in the program, from the players to the coaches to the (players’) parents. We all were winning and all feeling good, and now we get a setback and we’ve just got to handle it and we will.”

Things started out well enough for the Wildcats, as their opening drive in the rain at Mount Si High School’s stadium in Snoqualmie was a methodical, surgical thing of beauty. Short passes and short runs mixed in as the Wildcats worked to soften up the Falcon defense. With the two teams having played once already this season – the 27-17 Mount Si win September 21 – both teams had plenty of film on the other so there were no mysteries here. Both teams saw what they expected to see and both teams adjusted for those things. The drive culminated in a six-yard touchdown run from sophomore running back Cole Norah, and the Wildcats were off to the races.

Woodinville responded later in the opening frame. A personal-foul call against Mount Si’s defense set up Noah Stifle, who finished off the Falcon scoring drive with a touchdown of his own on the ground, and with 17 seconds left in frame one, the game was tied seven apiece. In the second quarter, Wildcat quarterback Cale Millen, who had his challenges with the Falcons’ defense all game, found enough of a hole to connect with receiver Brayden Holt, who then ran it in for a touchdown putting Mount Si back in front. And after the Wildcat special teams blocked a Glessner field goal attempt down the stretch approaching halftime, it looked as if Mount Si was going to take control and perhaps lock this title door shut before the teams went into the locker room.

But Falcon Cage Schenck stepped in and made the first of two huge plays to help keep Woodinville in it. This first one was an interception of an overthrown Millen pass, and it set up a late push that ended with the second of the three Glessner field goals, made especially more impressive by the fact that Mount Si had two timeouts left in the half and used both of them prior to the attempt in an effort to “ice” the Falcon kicker. But Glessner hung tough and hit the resulting field goal and it was 14-10 going into halftime. A potential 10-point swing and that proved to be huge for the second half.

Mount Si attempted to get things going in the second half, but found the going more challenging now that Woodinville knew they had a fighting chance at this still after that late heroics courtesy of both Schenck and Glessner. And Schenck came up golden again, this time on special teams, in the third quarter. A Mount Si punt, from Reed Paradissis, landed in Schenck’s hands and he proceeded to run it toward the sideline on the Wildcat side. It looked as if Mount Si’s special teams were going to run him out of bounds and pin Woodinville back a bit on their side of the field to start their resulting offensive drive. Schenck, however, had other ideas, turning around and running against the Wildcat defenders back toward his sideline. He made his way past numerous Mount Si players and ended up deep in Wildcat offensive territory – a 60-yard scamper as it turned out which according to state prep writer Ryland Spencer in a Tweet he sent during the game may have taken Schenck 150 yards to actually get. The Woodinville junior knew the stakes and showed that there.

Schenck’s amazing play set up another Glessner field goal, this from short range. Mount Si still had the lead but it seemed as if the visitors had all the momentum. And they did.
With 6:03 left in regulation, Glessner came out to attempt the previously-mentioned 47-yarder, and hit it to give the Falcons the lead. There was still optimism, though, on Mount Si’s side, with the team, many former players who were in attendance (including receivers Jordin Kinnune, Rossco Castagno and Parker Dumas among others) and others in the stands hoping the Wildcats could come back. But Woodinville’s defense was up to the task, and without Andrew Mostofi as a secondary receiver option (he was out after suffering a collarbone injury apparently in the Homecoming win for the Wildcats last week over Newport), that proved to make things that much more difficult a task for home side. Mount Si had one last chance with about 30 seconds left, but it went for naught and the Falcons escaped with the hardware and the Wildcat players were understandably devastated and stinging from their first loss of the season.

Kinnune credited Woodinville. “They made the plays and we didn’t. We turned the ball over, they didn’t and they made more big plays under stressful situations and that’s what we have to do,” he said.

As the players left the field, they were met with a round of applause from the remaining Mount Si fans who were still in the stadium waiting to leave, a sign that despite this loss, this community still believes in its boys, and will support these kids through thick and thin.

The Wildcats now await their next foe, and one thing to us looks perfectly clear: if they can harness the negative energy out of last night’s loss into positive energy moving forward, there’s a good chance Mount Si and Woodinville will meet again. Inside a newly-renovated “Woodshed” called the Tacoma Dome. For a state title.

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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