Heartbreak for Wildcat football in key Kingco game

Mount Si quarterback Ian Ilgenfritz looks for a handoff as Juanita’s Dom Chadwick closes in during the final offensive drive of the night on Oct. 15. Wildcat Jimmy Owen, no. 51, is guarding at right. - Photo by Calder Productions
Mount Si quarterback Ian Ilgenfritz looks for a handoff as Juanita’s Dom Chadwick closes in during the final offensive drive of the night on Oct. 15. Wildcat Jimmy Owen, no. 51, is guarding at right.
— image credit: Photo by Calder Productions

Mount Si’s football team gave it everything they had in their big Kingco 3A game last Friday, October 15, against the Juanita Rebels. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, however, the Rebels made the critical plays when they needed to and handed Mount Si a heartbreaking loss.

A touchdown with under two minutes remaining by Charles Benjamin gave Juanita the lead after the Wildcats had been in front the entire contest and Mount Si fell 18-17. Joe Farmer scored two touchdowns to lead the Wildcats.

Mount Si opened with a strong defensive stand to stop Juanita’s opening possession, then the Wildcats marched down the field methodically on their first offensive series. It resulted in Cameron Van Winkle kicking a 43-yard field goal to put Mount Si up 3-0 with just seconds left in the opening frame.

The Wildcats then converted an onside kick to keep the ball and the resulting possession was finished off in the second quarter with the first of the two Farmer touchdowns. Both scores were on pass receptions from QB Ian Ilgenfritz. This first one was on a two-yard hook which landed in Farmer’s hands in the back of the end zone to help extend the Mount Si lead to 10-0, which was how the game went into halftime. “We knew that we had to steal a couple possessions, so we had confidence in our defense early on and so we were able to get a field goal right away, then we opened with that onside kick,” Wildcats coach Charlie Kinnune said.

Ilgenfritz and Farmer connected again for the second time early in the third quarter; Ilgenfritz found his senior tight end wide open in the end zone behind the Juanita defense. The pass was for six yards and it propelled the Wildcat lead to 17-0.

Late in the third, the Rebels finally got on the scoreboard. After a big run by quarterback Derek Kaufman put Juanita deep into Mount Si territory, he finished it off with a six-yard scamper into the end zone, narrowing the score to 17-6 going to the final quarter.

Just seconds into the fourth, the Rebels struck again, this time in the air. Kaufman threw a 53-yard pass to Austin Hilliker and the receiver took the ball into the end zone for another Juanita touchdown which put them in business down 17-12.

It looked like Mount Si would seal the game up, but later in the quarter, on a third down just inside Rebel territory at the 43-yard line, Bankston appeared as if he was going to get a first down on a rushing play, but Juanita’s defense forced the Wildcat senior to fumble the ball. Mount Si recovered it, but it was short of the first down marker, making the next play a fourth down, and the team was forced to punt the ball away. "If we would have gotten that first down, we would have won the game. Plain and simple," Kinnune said. It was on the resulting Rebel possession that Benjamin scored what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown. The Wildcats had one last chance, but they weren’t able to muster the comeback.

Mount Si plays at Bellevue next Friday at 7 p.m. Wildcat RB Aladdin Schirmer expects another gutsy effort.

"Fans can expect us to leave it on the field,” the senior said.

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