Your first look at this weekend’s Mount Si High School football playoff game

As many of you know, Mount Si High School’s football team will be in the WIAA 4A high school state playoffs. Their win this past Saturday night against Monroe secured their berth, and yesterday, the association’s seeding committee tasked with setting up the playoff bracket seeded Mount Si 11th, giving them a first-round matchup on the road at sixth-seed Chiawana. That school is located in Pasco, over in the Tri-Cities, and the game will be on the east side of the mountains this Saturday with a scheduled 1:00 p.m. kickoff at Chiawana’s home field, Edgar Brown Stadium.

The stadium is well-known to Mount Si, as the Wildcat track and field team competes each spring in the Pasco Invitational meet, one of the top meets of its kind during the high school track and field season.

Scouting Chiawana
The RiverHawks, as they are known, are 9-1 this season and finished undefeated in the Mid-Columbia Conference.

The great Matt Evans over at the Tri-Cities based Evans Rankings, who does computer rankings for high school sports around Washington, offered us some information about Chiawana.

The primary thing to watch will be their defense. According to Evans, the Chiawana ‘D’ has only allowed 274 yards total rushing in their 10 games this season, and in total are allowing around 185 yards offense per game with less than 3 1/2 per play. A challenging stat for sure for the explosive MSHS offense. As an example, take league rival Kennewick. They, too, finished 9-1 on the season and are averaging around 30 points a game offensively, but against Chiawana were shut out. Union, from Vancouver, a team Mount Si’s Kingco rival Eastlake faced earlier this season, has also scored around 30 points a contest, but was limited to just 21 against the RiverHawks.

Offensively, the ground game will be the thing to watch. Evans tells us starting RB Gabe Schilz may or may not go as he is dealing with an ankle injury he suffered in their game last week. If he goes he’ll probably not be 100%, so Mount Si’s physical defensive line and linebacking group will want to contain him in a hurry and force things into the air to have a chance at success. If Schilz can’t go, they’ll rely on third-stringer Roy Colvin, who had 17 carries for 76 yards last week – certainly solid, but against the Wildcats’ line he could face a challenge even getting to that level.

We’ll be taking a look at video later this week and have more on the Chiawana side as we move forward.

Travel information
Evans also gave us some suggestions as well, so here’s what to know before you head east.

Directions: To get to the stadium from the Valley, you’ll be heading east on I-90 from North Bend over Snoqualmie Pass to Ellensburg and the exit for I-82 (#110). Take that exit and head south and east on I-82 through Yakima and the Yakima Valley to the Tri-Cities. Exit #102 is the exit for I-182, take this exit and head east on I-182 through Richland and over the Columbia River into Pasco. Head east on I-182 until you reach exits #12A and #12B. #12B will be for 20th Ave. North. Take this exit then head south on 20th to W. Sylvester Street. Turn left here and head east. It should be noted that at this time, no rooter buses are being scheduled but we’ll check on that for you and if that changes, we’ll advise.

Parking: There are separate lots for home and visiting fans. Mount Si fans will park in the visitors’ lot, which is on the east side of the stadium and accessible from Sylvester at 15th Ave. North. This lot has its own entry point and ticket booth and direct access to the visitors bleachers down a ramp. More on that in a moment. Evans tells us that this lot will be challenging to get out of once the game ends, so allow a lot of extra time to leave the facility. Additionally, the lot is small, so we would suggest you carpool.

He also tells us there is a larger lot to the northeast of the stadium at St. Patrick Catholic Church, which is off 14th Ave. North at W. Henry St., about three-four blocks north of Sylvester which has direct access to the visitor entrance point by way of an alley and should also be easier to get in and out of and he tells us will be open and free to park at. However, as this is a church lot and not a direct stadium lot, we would suggest that unless it is absolutely necessary to do so (i.e. the main stadium lot is full when you arrive) to NOT park there.

Accessibility: The visitor seating is in the actual bowl of the stadium – the stadium is built into the ground similar to the Stadium or Lincoln Bowls in Tacoma – and will require you to walk down and up a long ramp to get between the seating and the parking lot. Evans tells us it is wheelchair accessible, so older fans (i.e. players’ grandparents) and others who may need additional assistance getting into the stadium should be able to handle that. However, as it is a climb out of there, wear good shoes, you may be in for a hike similar to what you deal with if you’ve ever attended a game at Liberty High School in Renton.

Tickets: WIAA prices are being charged so check with the WIAA website for more information on that.

Food/Gas: There is a concession available inside the stadium but for those of you wanting a bite to eat either before or after the game, along West Court Street between 20th and US 395 there are several places, including a Wendy’s, McDonald’s and Burger King. However, there’s a better choice of options off I-182 near Gesa Stadium and the TRAC complex at the exit before the one to get to the stadium (North Road 68). Such fare as an IHOP, Taco Bell, Applebee’s, Dairy Queen, Sonic Drive-In and a Shakey’s pizza place (which is a California-based chain that used to have a ton of places on the Eastside a good 30-plus years ago but are now limited to at least one or two locally now) are among the extra options.

Lodging: As the trip is about three hours each direction, the 1pm start time should allow for fans to go and come back the same day. However, if you want to spend either Friday or Saturday night over there – or both – there are options. We should by the way mention that Mount Si’s team will be spending Friday night over there at a lodging to be determined. When we get that info we’ll advise you but it is IMPORTANT to note that the school and the booster club will NOT be blocking rooms for fans at whatever hotel they will be staying at. If you choose to stay at the team hotel Friday night when that is announced, you will need to book the reservations yourself and pay your own way.

There are two lodgings near the TRAC complex – a Hampton Inn (reservations at (509) 792-1660)and a Holiday Inn Express (reservations at (509) 543-7000), and there is also a Best Western off of 20th (reservations at (509) 543-7722) near the Sun Willows Golf Course north of I-182 and the stadium, about a five-minute drive from the stadium. However, about a 10-15 minute drive southwest of the stadium off US 395/SR 240 in Kennewick sit several hotels near the Columbia Center Mall, among those a Quality Inn (reservations at (509) 735-6100) and a Red Lion (reservations at (509) 783-0611). To get to these hotels from the stadium, you’ll take Sylvester west to Road 28 and turn left. Head south a short distance to West Lewis Street and turn right to get onto US 395 and cross the Columbia River. Exit onto westbound SR 240 and travel west along the river to Columbia Center Blvd. and head south. From the hotels to the stadium follow those directions in reverse.

We would also note there are a lot of restaurants situated close to the mall and these hotels, and on Saturday night, at the Toyota Center arena only about a 10-minute walk east from these hotels there will be a hockey game going on, as the hometown Tri-City Americans host their arch-rivals the Spokane Chiefs and that puck drop is at 7:00. Tickets for that start at $24 and you can log on to their website – search Tri-City Americans on Google – to get tickets.

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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