Your first look at this Saturday night’s playoff opponent for Mount Si….Monroe

Good Wednesday morning. We’ll have all the playoff action for you from last night later but we wanted to bring you your first look at this Saturday night’s playoff game for Mount Si High School’s football team.

The Wildcats, as you know, will be playing the Monroe Bearcats from the Wesco 4A Conference in a rematch of an opening-round game from two years ago won by the Bearcats as you remember in dramatic fashion, handing Mount Si a loss for the first time ever in a week 10 playoff game. Saturday night’s game kicks off at 7:00 at Monroe High School.

Scouting Monroe
Monroe finished the regular season 6-1 in Wesco play, 7-2 overall after splitting a pair of games to open the season against Kingco teams – beating Eastlake but falling to Monroe. Former Washington State receiver Michael Bumpus coaches this Bearcat crew, as he did two seasons ago, and has built a strong program in Snohomish County.

We will focus on two of his top seniors today, both of whom will present significant challenges for Mount Si. We saw video on both of these guys yesterday.

Efton Chism III, WR: Chism III had five catches for 81 yards and a touchdown two years ago in the playoff win that year over the Wildcats as a sophomore and he’s even more dangerous now as a senior. Five catches for 81 yards with no touchdowns last week against Cascade through the air and he leads the team in receiving, having caught the ball 44 times for 678 yards and six TD’s.

But he’s also a resource on the ground despite one carry for minus one yard last week; he’s carried the ball 18 times for 237 yards on the season and has four TD’s this way as well. He’s also even seen time under center this season spelling starter Gio Fregoso, who we’ll talk about on Saturday. Chism is 5-6 for 156 yards with a touchdown, including a perfect 3-3 and 118 yards with that TD against Glacier Peak in a ROOT Sports-televised game October 25.

Chism III has over 1,000 total yards on the season, and also serves as a special teams punt and kick returner, netting nearly 300 yards this way on the fall.

Defensively, he’s not as focal a piece as our second individual we’ll talk about today, but he’s still dangerous, with 33 tackles on the season (including eight against GP).

It’s his offensive skills, though, that make him what he is, and he will be a challenge for Mount Si, especially as the defender most likely to have drawn the assignment to face him head-to-head, Colby Botten, is out for the year with his ankle injury he suffered prior to last week’s game against Inglemoor. So, the assignment will likely be drawn by either senior Brayden Holt or junior Stuart DeMerit, and while we trust both guys will do their best, Chism III will be perhaps the toughest receiver they’ve had to defend all season, and they’ve had some good ones – both of them – to face within Kingco play this season.

Chism III has committed to Eastern Washington, which we think is an excellent choice for him; we expect him to have tremendous success over on the red turf and once again be an example for a lot of Seattle-area kids on that “bubble” between mid-range Division I FBS and Division II about a kid that can “stay home” and have success in a good program like Eastern’s is.

Chism III will be a load and a half for sure for the Wildcats, but there’s someone else who we think could pose even bigger problems for Mount Si.

Blake Rybar, LB/RB: Watching Rybar’s clip on MaxPreps, we found that he could be an even bigger issue for Mount Si, specifically their ground game and their offensive line. We’ll get to that in a moment.

First, we should mention that he leads the team in rushing, carrying the ball 107 times for 900 yards this season, including twice last week in their 51-6 win over Cascade including one for a touchdown, which was shown in the highlight clip we saw. His speed isn’t flashy by any means, but we liked his ability to see the field and spot open space, which once he did that he was off to the races against the Bruins’ defense. But it’s his defense which was focused on more in the clip, and which we think will present challenges for Mount Si.

Rybar had a season-high tying 14 tackles last week against Cascade, including a pair of sacks, and leads the team in tackles with 85. He plays a solid, fundamental, stay-at-home type defensive game which reminded us a bit of what a prototypical Mount Si linebacker – think a Hank Van Liew or R.J. Bell or Andrew Thompson or Murphy McDowell or Cary Purchase, all former Wildcat LB’s who went on to college football in that position – would play like under Charlie Kinnune.

Again, like with the offense, nothing flashy, nothing headline-grabbing or ESPN SportsCenter highlight worthy but still solid. Almost “blue-collar” for what it’s worth. This kid, if he played in Mount Si’s uniform, would have thrived and probably be D-II or D-III college material. We don’t know of any college signings or commitments by Rybar, but we’d like to think he’s got a future at the next level and perhaps even beyond that, maybe in the CFL. He’s just a good football player that puts the work in and gets results.

Rybar will pose the most significant issues for Mount Si RB Cole Norah and even QB Clay Millen if the Wildcats’ physical offensive line has trouble dealing with the Bearcat defender. With Norah just coming back from his season-delaying knee injury and the ground game in general not being the big suit of this Mount Si offense, if Rybar is, through his efforts, able to shut down things there and force it into the air, then a guy like Chism III, who also plays as a cornerback on defense, then becomes a factor on that side of the ball, too, and while we didn’t focus a heckuva lot on his defense, this may end up being a game potentially where he becomes a factor, there, too, thanks to his teammate Rybar.

Travel information
The game is at the high school campus, and this is located at 17001 Tester Road, on the west end of town off SR 522.

From the Valley via SR 203, you’ll head up 203 from Fall City into Monroe and go into downtown. At Main Street, turn left and head west out of town toward 522. You will reach a roundabout that also serves as the entrance/exit point on/off 522’s eastbound lanes. Instead, though, of getting onto 522, you’ll go 3/4 of the way around the roundabout to the Tester Rd. entrance and exit onto that, heading south briefly along Tester to the school and parking lot which will be on your left.

There will be plenty of parking but the visitor bleachers are small, so be there early or be prepared to stand all game. Additionally, the home stands are not covered, so prepare for weather.

Food/Gas: There’s nothing close to the school – most of this will be along US 2 about a five minute trip up 522 from the campus – but if you want a pregame meal, in this corridor there’s such things as a Denny’s, Red Robin, Buzz Inn Steakhouse, Ixtapa Mexican Restaurant or Burger King.

Again more on this game later in the week including any broadcast information if there is a radio/web broadcast; Wesco is known for having these kind of broadcasts and with the game being Saturday, there’s a possibility of this game being available as well in this fashion. If we find out anything we’ll let you know.

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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