Watch Trent Riley at work. The cool-handed catches, the athletic juking and dodging past opposition defenders, the leap into the end zone, the celebratory moves after a touchdown—they're all signs of a player who is reaching his potential.
That this comes from a player who was out with a fractured knee and missed his junior season makes things that much more interesting.
The six-foot-two, 196-pound wide receiver has been a star player on a Mount Si team that's already packed with talent and is the strongest Wildcat group to come through in several years.
Trent's parents are Eric and Shari Riley of North Bend. His brothers, Tanner and Tyson, are both Mount Si athletes. Tyson played for Central and Glendale, and Tanner is at the University of Portland. Eric played football for Mount Si and is a longtime assistant coach.
"I'm pretty much the last Riley to come through here," Trent says.
"Both my brothers were really good," he added. While he's not ready to say he plays football better than his siblings or father, "Getting that record is something that I'll have over them."
The record he's referring to is the single-season touchdown record that he seized from Brandon Yakaboski, Mount Si's all-star 2006 player, with 19 as of last week. Look for that to grow.
With Mount Si state bound, I had the chance to ask Trent Riley a few questions about his sportsmanship and outlook.
What goes through your mind when you've got the ball?
"First, you've got to catch the ball before anything. Once I get it, I use my athleticism and vision, (and) just try to break tackles. In my head, I think, 'Don't go down, don't go down.'"
What's with those moves you do when you score?
"It's just excitement, just a celebration. It's exciting to score touchdowns."
Why do you play this game?
"No other sport is like this. You're out here with 60-plus people, defense and offense. It's a full squad. (With) the competitiveness, it's a lot different from any other sport."
What did your injury mean to your outlook?
When you're sitting out, it hits you….It shows you how much the game means to you. Without sports, I didn't know what else to do. I did a lot of therapy, continued to hang around with the team. I got off the crutches, did physical therpy for three months, got into the weight room with my dad. I wanted to get ready for my AU basketball season. I wanted to get back out there. My friends and family motivated me. Everyone wanted me to be back (and) have a huge senior season."
Who would you like to recognize on your team?
(Quarterback) Nick Mitchell. My linemen for blocking, and (fellow receivers) Jimbo (Davis) and Tyler (Button) for running good routes all year. They definitely get me open. Having good wide receivers around me, they're covering them too, which allows me to get open.
"We don't really care who gets the ball. We just want to complete. Nick makes good reads and finds who's open."
What are your plans for next year?
"I'm definitely thinking Division 1 (universities). Since I missed last year, I want to see how things play out (in both football and basketball) I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing and see how things play out for me, and make the decision later in the year."
How can Mount Si reach a state title?
"Our goal is to be at that dome and win that state championship. We've just got to keep doing what we do each week—have a good week of practice and be ready.
We've pretty much got to take it like we've been approaching every other game. We've got to come out with the same energy and rally to the ball."
What's with your football nickname?
"We mess around and give each other weird names. Mine just happens to be 'Fish Hatcher.' It doesn't really have a meaning. I've never fished in my life. That's just the way our friend group is."
• The Mount Si vs. Glacier Peak playoff game is at Snohomish this Friday, Nov. 9. Follow Mount Si football at http://mtsihsfootball.com/