To the Mid-Columbia we go. Mount Si. Chiawana. It’s the state high school football playoffs, baby. Round one in the Basin this afternoon, and let’s talk about it now!

So, with the volleyball out of the way, we now talk about what perhaps everyone will be focused on today. We’ve been told by MSHS gymnastics coach Kelly Loranger that she anticipates a number of her athletes to not be at their practice set to begin shortly as they probably will be on their way east. You know about volleyball, those girls we think will also be wanting to pay attention. So this football game is something that other Mount Si athletes will be keeping an eye on. But not just the athletes. Their fellow students and an entire community will hop on I-90 shortly to get over there – or if they stay behind, hop on their favorite laptop or tablet to watch the live web broadcast of this one. It’s the playoffs, baby, and for the second straight season, Mount Si’s in them.


The boys are waking up after a nice leisurely trip east yesterday, maybe not so leisurely – they did stop and get a quick practice in at Central Washington University before arriving in Pasco shortly before 5:00 last night. They had a nice dinner once they arrived at the team hotel, which, according to photos taken by Mount Si Football’s Twitter feed, consisted of spaghetti and meatballs, salad and garlic bread along with cookies, water, tea and lemonade.

A good meal for sure for the boys, one which we hope gives them enough energy to get ready for this big one today. We told you earlier in the week about Chiawana’s strengths, more on that in a moment. So who will the Riverhawks be paying attention to?

QB Clay Millen: Millen was 17 of 21 in pass completions/attempts for 244 yards and a touchdown last week in their surprisngly strong 34-20 win over Monroe that put them into the playoff game today as the 11th seed against the sixth seed from east of the Cascades. The junior has thrown for over 2,200 yards this season and could be the most explosive quarterback this Chiawana defense has faced this season.

RB Cole Norah: Mount Si fans, and perhaps the junior himself, have been waiting for him to deliver in the fashion he did last week – 24 carries for 130 yards and two TD’s in the win over Monroe. In his previous five games since coming back from a knee injury that delayed the start of his season, he combined in those five games for 25 carries and 151 yards, so his output against the Bearcats basically doubled the combined five games in one sitting. If Norah can get things going to force things to open up today, that’ll be good news for the Wildcats. Additionally, he had six receptions for 96 yards, so perhaps Norah becomes a big two-way threat today. Watch that closely and see how Chiawana responds.

WR Brayden Holt: About the only player on this team whose focus could be elsewhere – and that’s completely understandable if it is (more on that in a moment), the senior caught four passes for 67 yards and a touchdown in last week’s win over Monroe, and will probably be the main guy Chiawana’s secondary will be paying attention to. It’s an especially big day in the Holt household as his younger sister Kaitlyn’s blazing a trail for Mount Si’s girls’ swim and dive team that hopefully will end in some state hardware today – she earned a berth into today’s final day of competition in the 4A state diving meet with a solid effort yesterday. We’ll talk about how Kaitlyn did later, but suffice it to say, this family’s on cloud nine as they wake up this morning, and perhaps this might also fuel Brayden to a huge day today, we’ll see.

WR/CB Aidan Dougherty: You know, this kid’s a baseball recruit, having verbaled earlier this fall to national college baseball powerhouse Oregon State. And he’s just a sophomore. But, if he continues to do as well as he did last week for Mount Si on the gridiron, he might just have the Beavers and their coach Jonathan Smith pay him a visit to perhaps offer him a football scholarship, too. A solid four catches offensively for 33 yards, but he made perhaps the biggest defensive play of the night last week – and there were several of them including a safety – with an interception that locked up the win for Mount Si a la Alex Hiebert in Camas in 2007 in the first round of the state playoffs that year. Hiebs, we still remember that pick to this day and Dougherty’s efforts certainly rank up there in that department.

Now, about the Riverhawks. The biggest thing we saw when watching their video earlier this week, and we discussed this yesterday, was how similar they looked to Mount Si in a lot of how they do things. So what this, to us, then becomes, is a battle of not just athletes, but coaching staffs. Essentially, what we see is a matchup that’s going to be decided on two things: one, how well each team – coaching staff and players – studies the film and preps for today’s game based on that film study, and two, how well each team – coaching staff and players – executes the game plan they want to execute today. You know about Chiawana’s defense and how well they’ve played this season. Give not just the players – but their coaches, too – the credit there. They’re getting things done, that’s for sure, and we’ll see how they fare today.

Getting things done? Hell, yes. They led the Mid-Columbia Conference in team defense, allowing a total of just 85 points in conference games this season and only 292 rushing yards. Norah’s going to have a tough time with that, but again, if he breaks out, that’ll be good news for MSHS.

When it comes to game preparation, you Mount Si fans know this coaching staff, led by head man Charlie Kinnune, is experienced and knows what it takes to get the boys prepped right. The game time today allowed the Wildcats flexibility if they wanted it to travel this morning, play and come back in one day, saving on the hotel bill and the catering costs from their team dinner last night. But Kinnune opted for the travel yesterday, looking to maintain as close to a normal pre-game schedule of activities for the boys, so hopefully it will all work out in the end. And we suspect it will, except while we don’t know a thing about Chiawana, we would expect their staff, led by head coach Steve Graff, would also have their kids fully prepared as well.

We expected last week’s game for Mount Si to be a close loss to Monroe. Not so. So, in our final analysis today, we suspect today will end up the same as well for the Wildcats – a close loss. Will they go two for two in defying the odds? We’ll see.


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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