SVSJ preview: Wildcat football gets ready for a historic season for their coach, his 20th

 

Connor Deutsch, seen here making the big interception in the late stages of last year's playoff game against Glacier Peak, is expected to have a big role this year as a senior for the Wildcat football team. (Photo courtesy Calder Productions)

Mount Si’s football team is looking to make some noise once again in 2011, coach Charlie Kinnune’s 20th season with the program.

The dean of Kingco 3A coaches is back after a 6-5 campaign in 2010 which saw Mount Si make the state playoffs for the fourth time in five years after maybe one of the top five greatest games in the Kinnune era, that stunning overtime road victory last November 5 over Glacier Peak in their qualifying round game. Kinnune is looking forward to the season ahead. “It’s very, very exciting, actually, to be as excited about my 20th year as I was my first year,” he said.

Kinnune expects fans will see a similar-style of team that has been common the last few seasons. “I think that they are going to see a team that is much better at the end of the year than at the beginning of the year,” the coach said.”I think they’re going to see a team that is constantly going to be improved and improving, which is always exciting.”

Much of the talk surrounding the Wildcat team coming into this season surrounds senior offensive lineman Josh Mitchell, who recently announced his verbal commitment to play college football for Oregon State next fall. But there’s several others worth watching. Kinnune expects some of Mitchell’s linemates, such as seniors Kolton Auxier and Sherman Hutcherson, to also make an impact on things, but the coach also thinks this could be a big year for another senior: Connor Deutsch. “He’s going to have his plate full, but he’s trained for it,” the coach said. Kinnune expects Deutsch, whose interception late in regulation of that playoff game against GP last fall arguably was one of the biggest defensive plays made by the Wildcats in the Kinnune era, to play several positions, most notably cornerback and tailback.

Another player to keep an eye on is junior receiver Tyler Button. Button is taking over the slot vacated for now by fellow junior Trent Riley, out with a knee injury. Button looked great last Friday in the Scarlet and Gray game, scoring one long touchdown on an interception return. But what made him stand out most was his speed. He’s ready. “I just hope to fill my full potential and have a big season and make a lot of big plays for the team,” Button said.

Mount Si only has three quarterbacks listed on its varsity roster, so depth in that position could be an issue, but senior Ryan Atkinson will look to make that irrelevant. Atkinson is expected to be under center for week one Friday against Woodinville, and it will be interesting to see how he fares.

Mount Si drew 122 boys out to tryouts this fall, and according to Kinnune, when you add the middle school programs and Junior Wildcat youth football to the mix, over 350 boys ages 7-13 are out on the gridiron this fall. The large turnouts at the high school level have prompted the program to add a fourth team, for sophomores, for the first time ever, and with the turnouts expected to remain high in the future what with all the kids playing junior and youth ball locally, a four-team Wildcat high school program will remain in the cards for a while.

Kingco 3A receives just three berths into the state qualifying round this fall, after having four last season. Bellevue is expected by many to win the league crown in 2011, and possibly contend for a state slot. But Kinnune anticipates Mercer Island, Liberty and Juanita to be right in the hunt along with his team for those other two slots. MI boasts the state’s top senior high school quarterback in UW commit Jeff Lindquist, while Liberty looks to reload following the graduations of the “Big Three” of QB Trey Wheeler, RB Chandler Jenkins and WR Jake Bainton, and Juanita also looks to reload after losing a lot of seniors to graduation after last season. “We’ve got a great league year in and year out from top to bottom,” Kinnune said.

Mount Si has only four home games this fall, starting with the opener Friday against Woodinville, so winning on the road will be a must, especially that three-week swing from September 30-October 14 when they head to Interlake, Mercer Island and Juanita in that order. If Mount Si can run the table in those three games, their chances of a playoff berth greatly improve.

This will be an interesting season to watch. Game times for all games are at 7:00 p.m., and it is recommended fans arrive as early as possible to avoid traffic and parking issues at the school.

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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