Mount Si’s football playoff carpet ride heads north this week for a date with some Vikings. No, not the black and gold variety, but an even better group. Preview and pick of MSHS vs. Lake Stevens right now!!

Good Saturday morning. We’re going to have softball – yes, softball – to talk about in a bit. However, we lead things off with some football. A little later on this morning, at around 9:45, you are asked to turn out at the Mount Si High School campus in Snoqualmie – in front of the school on “Wildcat Way” (Meadowbrook Way) – to send the Wildcats football team off in style as they look to advance to the state 4A football semifinals.

KINGCO 4A FOOTBALL
WIAA STATE 4A PLAYOFF QUARTERFINALS – LOSER OUT
MOUNT SI WILDCATS AT LAKE STEVENS VIKINGS
LAKE STEVENS HIGH SCHOOL, KICKOFF 1:00 P.M.*
*RADIO BROADCAST ON KRKO-AM 1380, LINK HERE

Well, Mount Si had a successful trip to the Tri-Cities last weekend, that’s for sure. It was full of team bonding, spaghetti, and record-setting performances, all aiding the Wildcats to what turned out to be a dominating 46-21 win over Chiawana at Pasco’s Edgar Brown Stadium. Which leads us to today and to a perhaps more challenging foe in the Vikings. We’ve told you all week about Lake Stevens and how formidable they are, especially their QB Tanner Jellison and WR Kasen Kinchen. So how does Mount Si pull off the upset, you ask? Well, here’s our players to watch and keys to victory.

QB Clay Millen: Millen ran roughshod on the supposedly stout Chiawana defense last Saturday, throwing for a Mount Si school record 500 yards and six – yes, six – touchdowns in the win over the Riverhawks. As we’ve told you this week, Millen statwise is pretty much equal to Jellison, and with both players being juniors this fall, these two shape up to be the top senior quarterbacks next year in the entire state. Folks that pay attention to the college recruiting scene are going to be all over this one today, so we’d expect a lot of those media to show up to see the matchup between Millen and Jellison through the air. That alone could be worth the price of the $10 admission to get in up there.

WR/DB Brayden Holt: Well, we thought Holt might have to split his focus last week – what with his game and his sister Kaitlyn’s efforts at the state swim meet. Now that Kaitlyn’s swim competitions are done for the fall, the focus for the Wildcat senior is on one thing and one thing only and that’s helping this football team win a state title. And considering he went off last week for 11 catches and 180 yards receiving with four of those TD’s thrown by Millen, there’s no reason to not expect that again today. It should be noted, of course, as we’ve also mentioned, that NCAA Division III powerhouse Linfield College’s football program noticed and this week offered him a scholarship. So more of this and perhaps more colleges will pay attention. Again, with the QB matchup being what it is, if the right people are there and Holt delivers again today, yeah, watch out. We also note the defensive back position with him, too – he’s probably going to get a chance to defend Kinchen so a big opportunity awaits Holt there as well. Shut down Kinchen, good news awaits.

RB Cole Norah: Over 100 all-purpose yards and a touchdown last week – 47 on the ground off of 16 carries and 60 through the air with the TD – makes Norah a factor again this week. Look for the junior to continue to deliver a key effort offensively, keeping Lake Stevens’ defense guessing.

WR/DB Aidan Dougherty: Young Mr. Dougherty caught four passes for 80 yards, much of that in the first half last week. Dougherty had one helluva first half even with the stats not really showing it. The sophomore will be a wild card in this one, a good secondary threat both offensively and defensively. He’s also probably going to get a chance to defend Kinchen, so a big opportunity awaits Dougherty there as well.

DB Stuart DeMerit: DeMerit collected another interception with impact in last week’s win, with the pick helping to set up a drive that finished with a Mount Si TD. The junior’s been doing this all year and received all-league honors as a result. We’ve been continually saying this for awhile – he keeps this up, he’s going to have colleges on his doorstep wanting to have him come aboard to their programs in two years time. He’s going to probably get the lion share of the work defending Kinchen, so this will be an especially big opportunity for DeMerit to show colleges what he can do. Again, with a lot of eyes on the QB matchup today, if the right people are there and he delivers, well, he’ll be a name people will be talking about for next year in the defensive area recruiting-wise.

Local knowledge: We talked about this aspect as well earlier this week. Mount Si and Lake Stevens have seen plenty of one another in recent years – no, not in the fall, but instead in the spring and other out-of-season competitions. This provides the Wildcats, if they remember well, a basic knowledge of what the Vikings will have on the table today. If they can utilize some of that as we like to call it “local knowledge” to their advantage, they’ll keep this game close, which could be good news in the end for the boys from the Valley.

Depth: Both teams have offensive depth, so whichever team can use that the best has the best shot to win. Mount Si’s depth has been tested with injuries this fall, but guys like senior receiver Andrew Mostofi have stepped up and filled voids well. Mostofi last week had a quiet six catch, 109-yard receiving effort, so he also becomes a wild card in this one today.

So with all that said, what’s the final verdict? Well, again, just like it’s been for the past two weeks, the Wildcats are the underdog in this one. And the past two weeks, we predicted doom and gloom for the boys. But the boys responded both times, and did so emphatically. Mount Si assistant coach Taylor Mitchell needled us about that on Twitter earlier this week, hoping we would go 0-3 in our playoff picks ostensibly thinking we would pick the home team from up north today. Well, we’re going to do that, but with this caveat: This game is going to be, thanks to the familiarity of Mount Si to Lake Stevens’s team and what they do, a lot closer than many might expect. It honestly would not surprise us if we did go 0-3 today, that’s how close we think this ends up.

LAKE STEVENS 31, MOUNT SI 28

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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