Sports

Passing game key to Wildcat success

SNOQUALMIE VALLEY - As head coaches go, Charlie Kinnune is probably typical. His voice is hoarse from yelling at practice, and when he talks about his players, a smile comes across his face.

He likes to focus on the basics, like disciplined practices and weight training. His team went 5-4 last year, with several of the same players returning for this season. But entering his 10th season at Mount Si his philosophy may have changed slightly from his early days.

"In the last couple of years, we have gotten away from measuring our team goals," said Kinnune. "Sometimes that can be counterproductive. I think you can look at the last two years, where we have gone 5-4, and every senior that graduated from those teams felt good about their experience, felt good about their senior year - and felt like, gosh darnit, at times we were the best team in this league. Because look at what we did in these five wins."

Kinnune has 49 wins and 42 losses at Mount Si, a 53.8 percentage. He is the school's winningest coach in terms of percentage. Comparatively, former coach Jim North headed the team for 17 years and had a record of 67 and 67.

Kinnune also knows that football on the Eastside is some of the toughest in the state.

"In any other league we would be making the playoffs; in KingCo, you are middle of the pack," said Kinnune. "We went 5-4 in the two years that the state champion came from KingCo. I think that represents our kids well and explains those 10 years pretty well. I do feel the last two years, if you look at our record, that's mediocre but in a very tough league."

Leading the returning group of players this year will be three of the best receivers the league has to offer: seniors Tyler Austin (5-9, 180 pounds), Brandon Dollinter (5-11, 170) and Logan Ratcliffe (6-2, 185).

"Those are three kids that are really going to enjoy their senior year," said Kinnune. "They compliment each other well, and out of those three we have a deep threat, intermediate threat and underneath threat."

Ratcliffe is familiar with the pressure, with this being his fourth season on the varsity squad. He also understands his role as mentor to the younger players.

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