The high school sports season kicks off in the Valley tonight with a little pigskin…..Cedarcrest begins the John Fiala era at home while Mount Si heads over for a little apple pie with their pigskin……previews and picks right here right now!

Good Friday morning. Well, we’re back for another high school sports season, and we thank the executive directors of both the WIAA and NFSHSA for their op-ed we had for you yesterday afternoon here. A lot of good reminders for all of you fans as we get set for what hopefully will be a successful 2019-20 high school sports season, and it kicks off tonight with week one of football. And with that, we’re back for another year of previews and picks. Every Friday we’ll have previews and picks for both Mount Si and Cedarcrest High School’s football games. This week, CHS begins anew on home turf while the Wildcats make a rare jaunt over the hills to eastern Washington. We’ll lead it off in Apple Country. Both kicks are at 7:00 tonight, and a note – the Mount Si game will be televised locally over in Wenatchee on NCW Life, but they are providing a webstream which we will have linked on our news links later for you.

Mount Si Wildcats @ Wenatchee Panthers, Apple Bowl, Wenatchee – The Wildcats rolled over the Panthers 52-0 in the season opener last year on their way to a 10-2 season and a trip to the state playoffs. Things are a bit different this year, though – no more Cale-Jonny QB/receiver connection; this year it’s Cale’s brother Clay Millen under center, and if you saw him last Friday night during the Scarlet and Gray game, he displayed a little bit of his arm strength in that game, with a long TD pass to the receiver likely to be his favorite target this year, Colby Botten. So that’s the connection to look for tonight.

But, we’d also look for junior RB Cole Norah to get a lot of work on the ground as well, and perhaps be a key weapon offensively. As for the Panthers, they, like Mount Si, don’t have very many seniors on their roster this fall – it’s mostly a sophomore-laden thing from what we can see after the team ended up going 6-4 on the season and missed making the state playoffs falling in their week 10 game last November 1 to arch-rival Eastmont, from East Wenatchee, by just one point – 14-13.

QB’ing Wenatchee likely tonight will be Camden Sirmon, a junior, and a couple of seniors to watch include receiver Sebastian Esquivel and running backs Ty Waterman and Oscar Martinez. We’d look for this to again be a one-sided show in favor of Mount Si. 52-0 though, will be a stretch; it’ll be a little more modest tonight. Mount Si 35, Wenatchee 7

The main event in the Valley is up at Cedarcrest tonight.

Cedarcrest Red Wolves vs. Sammamish Totems, Cedarcrest HS, Duvall – The John Fiala era begins in earnest tonight as the former UW Husky and NFL athlete begins his high school coaching career coaching the Red Wolves. Fiala has already begun the hard work in earnest to build this program into a competitive force within the Northwest District, and fans will get a chance to see that in game condition for one of their first times tonight. CHS beat Sammamish last year in the season opener, part of an early stretch that saw them win three of their first five and hold their own early in the schedule. But ther fell in four straight to close the season – by the combined total of 142-15 – and finished 3-6.

Senior Cameron Kohlruss is likely to see snaps under center at QB tonight, but as we mentioned in our preview, junior Carter “Deuce” Knowles should also see some reps there this evening. They’ll have some players to replace thanks to graduation, most notably RB Tyler Gray, who demonstrated not only excellence on the field but off it too and according to Fiala is believed to be walking on at Central Washington but as of yet he’s not shown up on their roster. Hopefully his efforts to walk on there will be successful because CWU will be getting a good one in more ways than one if they add Gray to the team.

Spencer Coomer and Sean Shannon are likely to get most of the work to fill Gray’s big shoes, with receiver Dawson Cairns likely to get work as well. All are seniors and bring a lot of experience to the table.

Sammamish, well, they’re a program that continues to struggle with low numbers – they again are playing an independent football schedule outside of Kingco this year which includes a game against Red Wolve Northwest Lake Division rival Bellingham. Perhaps next year, if they need to do this again, Kingco could allow Sammamish to just join the Lake outright and solve the scheduling issues.

We’d look for the Fiala era to begin on a strong note, with a win. Cedarcrest 28, Sammamish 7

Travel info for Mount Si fans headed east
It is a very rare occurrence for the Wildcat football team to head over the Cascades to play ball; the last time we can remember this occurring was perhaps over 10 or so years ago when they played a game over in Ellensburg. So this will be a first time for a lot of you doing this – and perhaps the first time ever this Mount Si team has ever stepped foot inside the Apple Bowl, the Wentachee High School football stadium.

The Apple Bowl is located in Pioneer Park next door to Pioneer Middle School. The stadium is not on the Wenatchee High School campus.

Directions: To get there from the Valley, follow as you would normally to get to Wenatchee (I-90 east from North Bend over Snoqualmie Pass to Cle Elum exit 85, then hop over to SR 970 then onto US 97 over Blewett Pass to Leavenworth then east into Wenatchee). You’ll of course come into Wenatchee on N. Wenatchee Avenue and traverse your way towards downtown. As many of you know, the main road jogs to the right when it reaches N. Miller St. Follow right onto Miller but instead of taking the jog to the left to go downtown on the one-way street going south, continue straight on Miller going south.

The park and stadium will be on your left after Cherry Street. It appears the visitors’ parking based on our read of Google Maps will be in the park off Cherry, so hang a left onto Cherry and follow a short distance for the parking on the right. The main lot will be a little further south, go a couple more blocks to Russell Street and hang a left there, follow two more blocks to the front entrance and parking lot for the middle school, which will both be on your left. In both instances the lots are limited in size so they’re likely to fill up quick so if you can, carpool over there. Not sure about admission or parking fees; you’ll want to give the school a call about both today if you have questions.

Food/Gas: Most of this is north of downtown around the intersection of Miller and N. Wenatchee Avenue. Among the choices foodwise include a Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Dairy Queen, Applebee’s, Sonic Drive-In, Red Robin and Dairy Queen. Right at the corner of Miller and where you jog left going south into downtown is a Union 76 gas station if you want to fill up on the way out of town, but the better bet on the gas might to be to stop off in Cle Elum and fill up there at the west end of town if your tank can make it the extra 60 or so miles back there from Wenatchee afterwards.

Lodging: A lot of you may be in for a late night and come back afterward this evening – the weather will be amenable for that – but those who would rather wait until first light tomorrow to come back, again the hotel options for the most part are at the north end of town around that same intersection we mentioned before. At the corner of Wenatchee Ave. and Miller is a Super 8, but there’s also a Travelodge, Best Western and a Red Lion Hotel near there. Further down towards the north end of town are a La Quinta Inn and a Holiday Inn Express, and downtown next to the convention center, the Coast Hotel Wenatchee Center is also a good option. Google all of these if you want to call over for a reservation for tonight.

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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