The football playoffs are here, so here’s your first look at who your Valley high school teams will be facing this weekend in the opening round!

Let’s talk some football now. The playoffs are here, and for Valley high school football fans, this weekend sees both Mount Si High School and Cedarcrest High School competing in opening round action as they seek to complete a two-week gauntlet of district competition that on the other side could result in trips to the state playoffs for both teams.

The Wildcats are on the road meeting Inglemoor Saturday in Bothell, while the Red Wolves head up to the Skagit Valley to meet Sedro-Woolley Friday.

Here’s your first look at both opponents.

Red Wolves look to pull upset against Cubs, but also to give school sense of normalcy
Cedarcrest’s come-from-behind win last Friday over Mountlake Terrace put them into their playoff game this week against the Northwest Conference stalwart, but the celebration of the accomplishment by their football program was, as some of you know, hit by a dose of reality this past weekend, as the realities of life took over.

First thing first, we want to offer our thoughts and prayers to the Cedarcrest players and coaches, all of whom are grieving this week after news that one of their fellow students, who we have been told was not an athlete at the school, passed away late Sunday. The school announced the news Monday and students were hit very hard by it, especially since, as we’ve also been told, this is the second time since the start of this school year that they’ve had to deal with tragedy involving one of their classmates, and third overall this calendar year, counting the passing of then-senior athlete Bryce Hefner back in the spring. With that, the goal we expect for this week’s matchup is to provide the school a sense of normalcy in what has been a very challenging start to the year for everyone up there.

So, what to look for? Sedro-Woolley is 6-2 on the season and in the tough Northwest District Sky Division, that’s pretty good. They’ve even beat Lynden this year which adds a feather to that cap. Junior Kaden Plymale is under center for the Cubs and has over 1,200 yards passing on the season with over a dozen touchdowns to his credit. CHS’ secondary will have their hands full dealing with Plymale and his receiving crew, led by senior Brent Vanderveen, he of over 500 yards on the season and perhaps around a dozen touchdowns when you count the stats from last Friday’s loss the Cubs had to Archbishop Murphy, stats which have not been posted yet to MaxPreps. Also watch senior Peyton Burrell, who also has 300-plus yards receiving with a touchdown or two as well.

Defensively, Vanderveen’s leading the team in tackles, with over 30 of them, so like his counterpart at Inglemoor in Trevor Thurman, who we talk about in our Mount Si first look shortly, Vanderveen’s having an excellent year on both sides of the ball. He’s putting the work in and seeing the results. Again, not sure on college prospects for him, but we’d say he’s earned it. He’s the type of kid that we think would look real good in a Western Washington University football uniform, except as many of you know, the school doesn’t field a football team and hasn’t for many years now. The school not having a football program has hurt athletes around the state, reducing potential college football opportunities for many players. It is hoped that will change in the coming years.

The Red Wolves’ senior leadership, anchored by such names as QB Cameron Kohlruss, receivers Dawson Cairns, Cody Hulse and Nathan Gerde, and RB/DB Sean Shannon, will need to step up and lead this week in light of the real-life events facing their school and fellow classmates and teammates, and we trust they will. This also will be a big test for head coach John Fiala as well, especially as he’s made a positive impact for these kids off the field as well. Fiala and his staff, we’re sure, just like a lot of other adults working with kids at the school, were busy yesterday and perhaps will be busy for the next couple of days helping players come to grips with the loss of their classmate, especially coming so soon after the school’s previous tragedy.

More on the keys to victory for CHS and who to look for from the Red Wolves to step up on Friday in our regular preview and pick segment.

Also a note as well, and that is for fans unable to make the game up north Friday, the Sedro-Woolley folks will have a live audio webstream of the game, here at this link. Sedro-WoolleyCUBS.com has been providing live webcasting all season of SWHS games, in their first season of doing so. There may also be a radio webcast of the game, too, either through KBRC or KAPS radio in Mount Vernon, but that is to be announced. When we find out about that, we’ll let you know.

‘Cats meet Inglemoor on road to potential state trip, but Vikings could have other ideas….
Mount Si makes a second trip to Pop Keeney Stadium this season for a Saturday night clash with Inglemoor’s Vikings. And while the Vikings may seem to be an opponent that is very beatable, the reality is is that Inglemoor perhaps is not an opponent to look past.

Inglemoor has had a fair season in the Kingco 4A Crown Division, finishing fourth in the division with a 4-4 mark overall, 1-3 in league play. Under center will be junior QB Kolby Solomon, and he’s had a good year by most standards, completing 88 of 145 passes for 940 yards, six touchdowns and seven interceptions with a QB rating according to MaxPreps of 73.3. Solomon was limited to 6-13 for 36 yards last Friday in the lightning-shortened Spaghetti Bowl loss at Pop Keeney to Bothell.

Thurman, a senior, leads the offense on the ground for the black and gold. Thurman had nine carries for 64 yards last Friday, and had the game gone the distance, he was probably going to be good for around 100 yards we’d guess in that game. He’s rushed 101 times for 617 yards and seven touchdowns, although he’s had only one the past month. Mount Si defenders such as lineman Gale Kamp and linebacker Daniel Harrison will be paying plenty of attention to Thurman. Also keep an eye on Solomon, as he’s netted 200 yards-plus himself on the ground, so he’s clearly shown his mobility and ability to move around and cause defenses trouble this season, which he’ll need to do a lot of in order for Inglemoor to have success.

Much of the Vikings offense has been ground-driven this year, and the stats show it, with their top receiver, senior Zach Hedge, only having a little over 200 yards on the season with three touchdowns.

Defensively, Thurman is the man to watch, leading the team in tackles, with 82, an average of just over 10 a game. 13 of the tackles have gone for loss so Mount Si’s offensive weapons – all of them, especially the ground guys such as Cole Norah and Clay Millen – will all be needing to watch Thurman, who clearly is the Vikings’ most important player. We don’t know if he’s going to be playing at the next level in 2020 as a collegian, but we’d have to say he certainly has earned that opportunity. The kid is putting the work in on both sides of the ball and having excellence in it.

Another thing that we think people will have to think about here is how each team approaches this game, especially with Mount Si expected to be heavily favored to win. With this in mind, we’d have to expect the Wildcats and their fans – and we will acknowledge that we, too, see this to be heavily in favor of scarlet and gray on paper – will view this game differently than Inglemoor and its fans will, with the Vikings likely seeing this as their “title” game so to speak, their one chance to prove to people they are a strong football team. So that mental focus and approach will be something to watch as well.

More on what Mount Si needs to do to win, and who we think can step up and do just that from scarlet and gray, Friday in our regular preview and pick segment.

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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