Wildcats retain Valley title on the gridiron

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SNOQUALMIE - Although it was the Issaquah Valley that played host to the annual gridiron battle between Mount Si and Cedarcrest high schools last week, the result was the same as last year with the Wildcats retaining the Valley Cup trophy for the third straight time winning 28-7.

The Wildcats scored on their first possession of the game on the backs of Adam Rothgeb and Eric Forslin. The running duo pushed their way down the field with Rothgeb showing a bit more finesse in finding the holes, and Forslin taking the Red Wolves head-on up the middle.

Finally, with 5:37 left in the first quarter, Forslin lumbered into the end zone for the touchdown. Kicker Chris Brown added the extra point for the 'Cats.

Defensively the Wildcats continued their menacing ways shortly after the score as Jake Pearce notched a big sack of Cedarcrest's Jeff Eldred and Forslin stuffed the Red Wolves' running back Chet Schroeter. The bad news didn't end there for the Red Wolves as the snap to the punter, Schroeter, flew over his head and into the end zone. The quick-thinking player grabbed it and managed a short kick to his own 38-yard line.

Brandon Yakaboski took over for Rothgeb at running back and maneuvered his way down the field, but an interception by Cedarcrest's Aaron Ghazanfarpour shutdown the 'Cats drive.

The game then became a defensive battle for the remainder of the first half with the Wildcats' Alex Grazda and Rothgeb both recording big plays. On the Red Wolves' side of the ball Schroeter continued to menace the running backs. The first half ended with Mount Si failing to score on several drives and only recording a 7-0 halftime lead.

The Wildcats took advantage of their second half kickoff, as Rothgeb and Forslin moved the ball toward the goal line. A pass to Eric Tierney then moved the ball to the Cedarcrest 11-yard line, but the Red Wolves wouldn't give in without a fight, sacking quarterback Tyler Littlejohn. But a slant pass route by the Wildcats' Eric Alexander for the touchdown put some breathing room between Mount Si and Cedarcrest. Chris Brown added the extra point to make it 14-0.

The Wildcats' defense continued to keep the pressure on, eventually forcing a fumble, which was picked up by Mount Si's Kyle Meuli. With 8:25 left in the game, Yakaboski, on a sweep, turned the corner for the end zone adding a third touchdown to the scoreboard for Mount Si. Brown added the extra point to make it 21-0.

The last Mount Si touchdown was scored after Grazda picked off another Red Wolves' pass. This time Meuli, on the slant, scrambled into the end zone for the touchdown. Brown added the extra point to make it 28-0 with 7:26 left in the game. Mount Si would get one more chance to add points to the board when Chris Brown tried a kick from 34 yards out. The kick was tipped and fell incomplete.

The Red Wolves would not be denied a score late in the game though as quarterback Jeff Eldred connected with Rob Reisz for a 25 yard touchdown. Schroeter added the point after to make the final score 28-7.

Littlejohn went 11 for 21 in passing, totaling 150 yards including two touchdowns and an interception. Meuli led the team in receiving with three catches for 78 yards. For the runnin game, Rothgeb had 13 carries for 77 yards and Forslin had 13 carries for 52 yards.

A gracious Mount Si head coach, Charlie Kinnune, was quick to point out his impression of the Red Wolves' team.

"My hat is off to Jason Fredricks and the coaching staff, they looked solid," said Kinnune.

"The Valley Cup out of the Valley is a little bit different, it's normally raining, dark, windy and cold so it's different," he added after the team accepted the Valley Record sponsored trophy.

"Tyler looked very good, everything is predicated on running the ball," said Kinnune. "We tried to experiment a bit in the first half. Then we came back in the second half with the two-back running game, once we get that working then our play action worked again, then our three-step game opened up. Our defense played well, we are in pretty good condition and we have some tough players on the defensive side and they run to the football."

Mount Si will take on Ellensburg in their final preseason game this Friday night at Issaquah. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

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