'Cats fall to Issaquah

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ISSAQUAH - For many Wildcat fans, last week's battle with the Issaquah Eagles was a chance to see if the varsity football team could beat one of the state's high-ranked opponents. Mount Si had home field advantage even though the game was played at Issaquah, but the win wasn't to be added to the record books as conference rival Issaquah emerged victorious, 31-13.

The Wildcats, struggling to gain an identity and find team leadership, used all three of its quarterbacks. Tyler Littlejohn started the game and lead the offense until late in the second quarter when Rollin Smith came in for one play. The second half found sophomore Ian Atkinson running the show.

"Coaches can only do so much," said head coach Charlie Kinnune. "We have waited for a quarterback to step up and right now we are looking at Ian. He did some nice things and he did some young things. He is not as strong as we need him to be but he will be."

Kinnune's frustration was obvious as he walked off the field after the game.

"This is testing us as people and football is a really tough sport, you have to be a tough player, coach and tough parents. You have to coach the kids in a positive way and we are trying to do that - coaching, looking to the future - but we also need to win now," said Kinnune.

Issaquah scored first in the game on a drive that began at its own 17-yard line. Pushing into Mount Si territory, the team moved the ball to the 17-yard line. Eagles' quarterback Bryan Jones found Chris Hamilton for the touchdown and with the extra point the score was 7-0 late with only seconds left in the first quarter.

Early in the second quarter, after a three-and-out drive by the Wildcats, it looked as though the Eagles would score again. On its own 48-yard line, Issaquah fumbled and Zach Bowen smothered the ball for Mount Si. From there Mount Si went to the ground game on the back of fullback Eric Forslin who pushed to the Issaquah 41-yard line. Then, as running back Brandon Yakaboski rolled out, he stopped in the flat and threw the ball deep to the Wildcats' Alex Grazda who ran to the 1-foot line.

Three plays later Yakaboski leaped over the middle into the end zone for the Wildcats' first touchdown. A bobbled snap thwarted the extra point, but Mount Si was on the board 7-6 with 7:55 left in the second quarter.

The defense dug in its heels, slowing down the Eagles' momentum and forcing the punt. But the Mount Si offense fumbled the ball on its own 28-yard line setting up the Eagles' second touchdown with 2:21 left in the second quarter. David Yamashita ran it in from one yard out and with the extra point, Issaquah led 14-6.

Smith came in at quarterback on the next series, but unfortunately his first pass was intercepted by an Issaquah defender and run back to the Mount Si 20-yard line. With the clock winding down the Eagles' kicked a field goal making the score 17-6 heading into the locker room.

Atkinson started the second half at quarterback as the Wildcats switched to a roll-out-and-pass type of offense. But after three-and-out the punt team came on and the Eagles started its next drive on their own 22-yard line. The team quickly pushed into Mount Si territory and with 8:08 left in the third, scored as Cameron Gellaty took a Bryan Jones pass and rambled into the end zone. The extra point made the score 24-6.

The Eagles followed up with an onside kick that resulted in another touchdown with 6:35 left in the third quarter to make the score 31-6.

Mount Si answered as they began to drive near mid field. With long yardage needed for the first down, a late hit on Atkinson gave the Wildcats a shot at the end zone. On fourth-and-goal from the 4-yard line, Atkinson found Tierney for his first varsity touchdown pass in the back of the end zone. Chris Brown added the extra point and the score was 31-13.

From there it became a defensive battle on both sides of the ball. The Wildcats' Eric McCammon stopped another potential score by the Eagles when he fell on a fumble on the Mount Si 1-foot line. Mount Si moved the ball into Issaquah territory but time ran out before they found the end zone.

"We have Interlake and it's a winnable game next week but we really thought we could win this game," said Kinnune. "It's disappointing, but when I look back at it I knew we were going to have times like this. We are young, we have 10 seniors and only four that typically play."

Game time is 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 15, at Interlake.

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