Mount Si football to compete for state 4A title after win yesterday, plus college gridiron action….

Mount Si High School’s football program is waiting with baited breath right now as it awaits its WIAA 4A high school state playoff first round opponent, after securing a trip into the round of 16 with a true team win yesterday afternoon in their opening round playoff game over Rogers.

The Wildcats responded well coming out of their Kingco 4A title game loss to Woodinville October 25 and engineered a dominating performance on both sides of the ball, taking care of the Rams, from Puyallup and the South Puget Sound League’s fourth seed, 42-0 in the rain at Mount Si High School. Cale Millen connected for five touchdowns with Wildcat receivers, four of those with fellow senior Jonny Barrett, and the defense and special teams also contributed handily to the victory, which had the feel of old time Wildcat football.

“Our defense continues to rise and get better and that was an offense that scored 56 points just last Tuesday night,” said Mount Si coach Charlie Kinnune, referring to Rogers posting that many in their mini-game win over Sumner which clinched their berth into this game yesterday. “We knew that we needed to get physical with their skill kids and we felt like that if we could get physical with their skill kids they wouldn’t be really effective into the second half and so that’s exactly what happened. (Rogers QB Makaio Gillespie) couldn’t answer the bell.”

Kinnune continued, “With that, we ran the ball when we needed to, we broke out the short passes; when they started to crowd, we were able to hit the deep stuff, so that was really nice.”

Things started out well enough for Mount Si. A big pass completion from Millen to Colby Botten set up Millen-Jonny Barrett volume one, a five-yard hookup that opened the scoring midway through the first and was the first hookup between those two for six since the 42-7 Wildcat win over Skyline October 12. The end of the opening quarter saw the senior duo connect again, this from 19 yards out. Then, early in the second frame after the Wildcat defense pinned the Rams offense deep in their own end zone, the resulting fourth-down punt was fumbled in the end zone by Rogers punter Riley Skladany, and Mount Si sophomore Stuart DeMerit landed on the ball for another TD. “One of our teammates got in there real quick and then I was lucky enough to land on the ball in the end zone,” he said.

The sophomore class has been making noise this season, what with running back Cole Norah’s success offensively and that defensively of Daniel Harrison. DeMerit believes that the Class of 2021 can help provide a big lift for this team as it moves forward in the playoffs. “There’s a bunch of us who are capable of playing and getting in when someone’s injured,” he said.

The game went to halftime with Mount Si up 21-0, then Millen and Barrett hooked up twice more in the third. First it was from 10 yards out, then it was from 23 yards out, and with three minutes left in the third, it was 35-0. The scoring closed – and the game went into continuous clock mode afterward – with a two-yard chip from Millen to Botten for another TD with 8:07 left in regulation. Botten overall had a solid game, and was very happy with the team’s performance. “This is a huge win for us. We’ve been working hard. We had our best week of practice this week, all the coaches have been saying it,” the junior receiver said. “This is just more motivation to go on further in the round.”

Botten added, “Our coaches say that no one wants to play Mount Si after a loss cause it’s just more motivation for us. We put in more hard work we believe than any other team out here and we think that even on a rainy night like this, we’re a mainly passing team, we can just come out and we can show up and put points on the board.”

But the win did not come without a huge cost – on the play prior to Millen’s TD hookup with Botten, fellow receiver Brayden Holt was injured, and it appeared to us to be a knee injury. He could not put any weight on his right leg and had to be helped off by trainers with his status for next week’s game not known.

“It’s that time of year,” Kinnune said. “We’re hoping that we’ll be able to get Brayden back.”

The overall performance of both Botten and Norah, who had we think his best rushing effort of the season in yesterday’s game – we’ll see some stats and let you know later – was especially pleasing to Kinnune. “Those are underclassmen that are just getting better with every game and they’ve both had to fight through nicks and nagging injuries and sickness and Cole has just shown incredible toughness and Colby’s been sharp from day one,” he said.

Mount Si’s strong defensive performance had many anchors to it in yesterday’s game, among them being senior R.J. Bell. This past week, as we noted in our preview yesterday, much was made about Bell’s ties to the Colville Indian tribe over in northeast Washington. Bell realizes he’s playing for more than just himself or his team or friends here at Mount Si. He’s carrying the torch for an entire tribe of native Americans. “It’s very cool,” he said. “I’m just playing for them and my tribe is really something special, and I’d like to show them that hey, we’re always working everyday and we’re always out here just striving for greatness.”

Mount Si will find out its playoff assignment this afternoon. A seeding committee is meeting as of this writing at the WIAA’s offices in Renton and will announce the playoff pairings at noon. It is expected the Wildcats will seed in the top eight and be home next week. The Kingco 4A went 5-0 in these week 10 playoff games this weekend with Skyline, Bothell, Eastlake and Woodinville also all winning their games. Look for the committee to likely seed this in such a way as to keep the Kingco teams from playing one another in the round of 16 with the Wildcats and Falcons being at home, possibly along with the Cougars, and for the Spartans and Wolves to be traveling this next week.

Whenever or wherever this team plays, Kinnune has a challenge for Mount Si fans. “I expect more fans. I challenge our fans right now to turn out,” he said. “We have to play on Saturdays, we have to play on Thursdays. Our fans need to come and support us.”

College scores
Central Washington 74, Southwest Baptist 28: Central made the long trek to Bolivar, MO, and it was well worth it, as they ran roughshod on the winless SBU team. Freshman Jack Weidenbach, from North Bend and a 2017 MSHS’er, had one assisted tackle for Central in the contest.

Eastern Washington 48, Northern Colorado 13: The Eagles rolled over the Bears on the road in Greeley, CO. Junior Chris Schlicting, he of North Bend and a 2015 MSHS’er, worked his normal position at right tackle for Eastern in the contest.

Montana State 49, Cal Poly 42: The Bobcats held off a late rally from the visiting California team to secure the home Big Sky (NCAA Division I) win in Bozeman, MT. Senior Alex Neale manned his usual center position for MSU; he is from Duvall.

George Fox 35, Pacific Lutheran 7: The Bruins handed the Lutes a loss in their home finale down at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup. Sophomore Alex Rendon, from Snoqualmie and a 2017 MSHS’er, caught two passes for 14 yards for PLU in the game.

Concordia-MN 21, St. Olaf 10: The Cobbers handled the Oles in the Twin Cities. Leading the defense was senior Andrew Thompson. The North Bender, a 2015 MSHS’er, had nine tackles – including one for loss – for Concordia in the contest.

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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