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Destiny at the dome: Mount Si football makes history with Kennedy win, earns Tacoma trip to face Bellevue | Photo gallery

 Celebrating a Valley first, seniors on the Mount Si football team stack up following the Wildcats’ 38-7 Nov. 17 win, their last home game. Mount Si now goes on to the state football semi-finals at the Tacoma Dome, the first such trip in this high school’s history. Mount Si seniors include Methus Weldon, Connor Jensen, Trent Riley, Cameron Van Winkle, Tyler Button, Riley Reed, Hunter Malberg, Joey Cotto, Kailund Williams, Keenan McVein, Hank Van Liew, Blake Herman, Shad Schreiber, Jordan Aune, Stephen Nnabue, Zackary Blazevich, Tyler Rutherford, Mitch Rorem, Griffin McLain and Brandon Justham. - Seth Truscott/Staff Photo
Celebrating a Valley first, seniors on the Mount Si football team stack up following the Wildcats’ 38-7 Nov. 17 win, their last home game. Mount Si now goes on to the state football semi-finals at the Tacoma Dome, the first such trip in this high school’s history. Mount Si seniors include Methus Weldon, Connor Jensen, Trent Riley, Cameron Van Winkle, Tyler Button, Riley Reed, Hunter Malberg, Joey Cotto, Kailund Williams, Keenan McVein, Hank Van Liew, Blake Herman, Shad Schreiber, Jordan Aune, Stephen Nnabue, Zackary Blazevich, Tyler Rutherford, Mitch Rorem, Griffin McLain and Brandon Justham.
— image credit: Seth Truscott/Staff Photo

 

Mount Si’s big win Saturday, Nov. 17, guarantees a trip to Tacoma. Top, the Wildcat offense readies for a drive in the second half.

Above, the Mount Si defense crashes into the Kennedy offensive line.

Lineman Zackary Blazevich celebrates the team’s first semi-final shot;

Head coach Charlie Kinnune talks to the team after the game;

Above, receiver Jimbo Davis walks in a touchdown. Below, quarterback Nick Mitchell runs the ball during the team's final home outing. Mitchell is a junior.

 

The clock hadn't finished counting down, but this contest was already over, and the crowd definitely knew it. A moment had arrived.

As the packed Wildcat audience chanted "Tacoma Dome, Tacoma Dome," icy Gatorade poured down on Mount Si's defensive coach Wayne Lewis. Minutes later, head coach Charlie Kinnune got the same treatment. Parents flooded the field armed with cameras, ready to commemorate this, the best football team in this school's history. The players themselves were over the moon.

This weekend, Mount Si will face a daunting challenge in the form of the Bellevue Wolverines, the only team to beat the Wildcats this season. Yet the moment itself is what matters. For the first time, Mount Si will be represented at the WIAA State football semi-finals.

To get there, the Wildcats simply played as consistently and strongly as they've done all season, their defensive hunger and tenacity and offensive skill bringing victory, 38-7, over the Kennedy Catholic Lancers in the quarterfinals on Saturday, Nov. 17.

"We're going to the dome," said senior lineman Hank Van Liew, following the big win. "It feels amazing. It's indescribable."

"It's a big day for the Valley," said wide receiver and defensive back Hunter Malberg, who hunted for plenty of pass breakups on the night.

"We made the adjustments after the first half and shut them down," he said.

"We didn't look past this team tonight," said senior Keenan McVein.

McVein didn't get quite as many carries as he'd have liked: "They did a good job of stopping our run. That just opened up more passing components for us, and allowed our team to get into our own element.

Out for three weeks, senior Blake Herman enjoyed being back on the line.

"I just really wanted to get out there and make some plays," he said.

Most of this team has played together since fifth grade, said McVein, who huddled for a photo with lineman Tyler Rutherford, a best friend since kindergarten, and both their moms.

"Lots of fun, lots of fun," said a beverage-splashed Kinnune amid handshakes from parents.

This moment was expected. Kinnune, who has led the Wildcats for 21 years, said his players have worked hard to be here.

"There's still work ahead," the coach added. His biggest thrill is to be able to continue practices with his talented team.

"I love to work with these kids every day," Kinnune said.

In scoring Saturday, Mount Si's Trevor Daniels, a junior wide receiver, had the touchdown of the first quarter with a 26-yard pass from quarterback Nick Mitchell. Mitchell scored next with his own two-yard rush.

Mount Si's defense held off Kennedy Catholic for most of the night, but Kennedy got on the board in the second quarter with a 10-yard run by Drew Thompson. Colin Cossette kicked the point after.

Mount Si's drives, meantime, kept rolling. Tyler Button earned six points in the end of a second-quarter push with a short eight-yard push on a pass from Mitchell. Cameron Van Winkle followed up with a kick.

The first half ended up balanced well in Mount Si's favor, 21-7, and Mount Si only built that lead in the second half, holding Kennedy scoreless.

In the third, Griffin McLain scored, on a seven -yard pass from Mitchell. The final Wildcat touchdown of the night came from Jimbo Davis, who tiptoed in after snatching a Mitchell pass. Van Winkle shot another kick through the uprights to bounce off the roof of the concessions stand. The UW-bound senior then capped Mount Si's home play with one of his longer field goals of the season, a 45-yarder.

• Mount Si plays Bellevue at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23, at the Tacoma Dome.

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