Wildcats redeem last year's loss, blast Islanders

Coming into last Friday night's football game with Mercer Island, the Mount Si Wildcats needed a boost. After being soundly beaten by a very strong Bellevue team Sept. 9, Mount Si knew they had to break out against MI in order to regain their confidence and boy, did they do that in a big way.

The Wildcats took a 21-0 lead after one quarter and despite penalty problems, rolled to a 36-13 pasting of the Islanders. Brandon Yakaboski ran for a touchdown and threw for one on a halfback option, and fellow senior Marshall Griffin ran for two touchdowns to lead the rout.

"Well, we got off to a quick start and we felt like we had to do it," said Mount Si coach Charlie Kinnune. "And we ran a toss early and they stuffed it, so I knew it would be a good chance to come back with that halfback pass. Brandon's a left-hander, so he was throwing across his body, but I think everybody again saw his athleticism and he was running across his body and turned around and threw just a beautiful strike, and that got us started and right after that we didn't look back."

Mount Si quickly got on the board first, thanks to Yakaboski's heroics. His 39-yard halfback pass was caught by senior receiver Sean Bothell who ran into the end zone for the touchdown. After Gibson Bardsley kicked the extra point, Mount Si was up 7-0, just two minutes into the game.

It didn't take long for Yakaboski to strike again. He ran 14 yards for the Wildcats' second touchdown with 6:04 left in the first quarter. Griffin added the first of his two TDs with 1:05 left to round out the first-quarter scoring.

Mercer Island senior running back Greg Mahony ran for a touchdown from six yards out with 8:45 left in the second quarter to put the Islanders on the board for the first time. Then Bothell put together more fireworks with 3:48 left in the frame, running a punt back 40 yards for a touchdown to put the Wildcats up 28-7, which was the halftime score. "It was a nice hole for me. I just ran as fast as I could. I got to the corner," Bothell said.

The opening kickoff of the second half was returned by MI deep into Mount Si territory. A personal foul penalty against the Wildcats added additional yards to that return, and the Islanders opened the third quarter on Mount Si's doorstep. On the first play of the Islander drive, the Wildcats were called again for a major penalty, and that set up Mahony's second TD of the game on the following play from four yards out. Penalties were a problem at times for the Wildcats. "It was one of those things that we have to work on," Kinnune said.

The Wildcats threatened on the next possession, using a combination of Yakaboski and Dan Reeves on the ground to move the ball up the field. However, Mount Si didn't get anything to show for it as Yakaboski fumbled the ball out of the back of the end zone on third and goal. Referees awarded a touchback to the Islanders, allowing them to start on their own 20-yard line with the ball on the following play. However, their drive ended in disaster as they also fumbled the ball out of the back of the end zone, giving the Wildcats a two-point safety. Going into the final quarter, Mount Si was in command, up 30-13.

Griffin pounded it in from one yard out with 9:54 left in the final stanza and that rounded things out for the night.

Yakaboski credited team preparation with the victory. "We lost to Bellevue, so the team was really mad about it, so we had a real good, hard week of training," he said, adding that training consisted of lots of running and weight training, among other things.

Kinnune credited Mercer Island. "Mercer Island was coached well and they have tough kids and it was a man's game tonight," the coach said.

Game time for the Skyline game this week is slightly earlier than usual. It will start at 7 p.m. instead of the usual 7:30 p.m. kickoff at Skyline.

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