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Red Wolves take trophy
The Snoqualmie Valley Record-sponsored championship trophy
will once again be housed proudly in the display case at Cedarcrest
High School after the Red Wolves pulled off an upset against the Wildcats 7-0. In
a night that saw both teams defensive units play tough, especially in the
red zone, one lone punt return by the Red Wolves' Tommy Harding was all
it would take for the Lower Valley team to repeat last year's victory.
From the beginning, both punters, Nathan McClallin for the Red
Wolves and Tim Holen for the Wildcats, got their share of work. The Wildcats'
first possession was a four-and-out series as the running tandem of
Mike Dollinter and Austin Bachelder never got off the ground. Cedarcrest
would answer with a five-minute offensive drive starting from their own
38-yard line. Running backs Darren Carrido and Aaron O'Neal would carry
the bulk of the offensive efforts for the Red Wolves through much of
the game. During their first offensive series, the Red Wolves lined up a
trips pass pattern, adding a split tight end to form a diamond. The screen pass
to the diamond threw off the Wildcat defensive effort initially, but it
was quickly shut down after a few plays. Four first downs later, it appeared
the Red Wolves might move into scoring position. But the Wildcat
defensive rush racked up two big losses for the Red Wolves, finally forcing a
punt with five minutes left in the first quarter.
On their next possession of the first quarter, the Wildcats continued to
rely on the off-tackle running of Bachelder and Dollinter. A lone pass to
Brett Bergstrom kept the pass defense honest, but continued pressure by the
Red Wolves rush forced Mount Si quarterback Byron Dill to hurry his
passes, resulting in incompletions. On fourth and 4, with 2:48 left in the first
quarter, Holen would again punt for the Wildcats.
Cedarcrest would have similar results on their second possession of
the first quarter as they, too, struggled offensively. On third and 15 at
the Cedarcrest 20, quarterback Nick Rich tried to throw a bomb to receiver
Ben Frey, but a waiting Bergstom picked off the pass, giving the Wildcats
another chance at their offense. Four plays later with 13 seconds left on
the clock, the Wildcats were once again forced to punt, despite two nice
pass receptions by Dollinter and Steve Botulinski.
Holen's punt sailed out of bounds at the Cedarcrest 30, where Rich
took to the helm once again. On the very first play of the second
quarter, Cedarcrest junior Tom Felts broke through the pack and ran all the
way to the Wildcat 19-yard line a 51-yard rush. A Wildcat penalty
would move it even closer toward the end zone to the 14-yard line, but, as
evidenced throughout the game, neither team could score from the red
zone. Three successive runs by Carrido failed to generate any yardage and
on fourth and 5, the Red Wolves were forced to kick a field goal. Luckily
for the Wildcats, the field goal sailed wide, leaving the score at 0-0 with 9:49
left to play in the first half.
Starting from their own 20, the Wildcats would mount an
impressive drive only to result in the same frustration of failing to score from the
red zone. After an initial run by Dollinter, Bergstrom caught a Dill pass at
the Cedarcrest 39-yard line. Passes to Brad Connor and Eddie
Horstman continued the drive. On fourth and 9, Dill found senior Chad Mills at
the Cedarcrest 25-yard line for another first down. A run by Dollinter
would move it closer to the end zone, but the drive would eventually stall. On
fourth and 11, from the Cedarcrest 19-yard line, Bergstrom attempted to pierce
the uprights for a field goal. The ball sailed right a bit, ending a
61-yard drive with no points on the board. With 4:17 left in the second quarter,
the score was still 0-0.
The Wildcats would get one more chance before the half was over.
Free safety Logan Ratcliffe picked off a Rich pass at the Red Wolves
42-yard line. Mount Si immediately went to their passing game with only 1:04
left on the clock. Passes to Bergstrom, Jeff Stone and Mills put the ball at
the Cedarcrest 10. But the clock was unkind to the scoring efforts of the
`Cats as time ran out in the half, still with a score of 0-0.
Cedarcrest would start the opening drive in the second half from
deep in its own territory, Runs by O'Neal and Carrido, as well as a pass
to O'Neal, failed to produce more than four yards. But a beautiful punt by
the Red Wolves' McClallin put Mount Si in its own territory at the 40-yard line.
Finally, the running tandem of Dollinter and Bachelder showed
some promise. The two moved the ball to the Cedarcrest 36-yard line on
consistent gains. On third and 8, from the Cedarcrest 32, a pass to Stone fell
to the grass. On fourth and 8, an illegal procedure call on the Wildcats
added another five yards, making it fourth and 13. With 5:51 left in the third,
Dill was sacked at the Red Wolves 44-yard line, giving the defending
champions the ball on downs.
Neither team would do much but go four and out until well into
the fourth quarter. On fourth and 12 from his own 30, Holen would once
again punt for the Wildcats, but this time a talented set of hands and feet
would catch the ball and go 65 yards for a touchdown. With the extra-point
kick the score was quickly 7-0, with a stunned Wildcat crowd
disbelieving that its team was behind.
The Wildcats would only get one more opportunity at the end zone.
An intercepted pass at the Cedarcrest 35 set up a series that seemed assured
of scoring. Runs by Dollinter and Bachelder moved the ball to
the Cedarcrest 3-yard line, but outstanding defensive play by the Red
Wolves' defensive front, as well as linebackers Jed Dern and Matt Geiger,
once again kept the `Cats from scoring in the red zone. With 5:23 left in
the game, the Wildcat drive was stopped on downs and the Red Wolves
One more attempt at the end zone was thwarted by the Red Wolves
as Geiger picked off a Dill pass. The last series for the Wildcats, with only
seconds on the clock, went to the air for the hopeful long bomb, but it
wasn't to be as the Red Wolves moved to four wins and five losses for the
season, having defeated the 5-4 Wildcats.
"Our defense really stepped up tonight," said Red Wolves head
coach Art Kuehn. "We gave Mount Si a couple of opportunities to take
advantage of, but our defense stepped up every time. We might be outmanned
a little bit, but these kids never give up.
"I'm excited, this is 3 out of 4, and I'm excited as heck. Charlie is a
friend of mine, but I know he hates losing this game, and I love winning it.
Our kids deserve great applause. I hope we can come back again next year and
do it again," added Kuehn.
But it was obvious that Kuehn had also added some new weapons to
his offense. "We thought we would do some stuff with it. They were
playing such a soft zone on us that we got a few yards with it," he said,
speaking of his four-back diamond set of receivers. "Then we went away from it
after it worked for a little bit. We couldn't do quite what we wanted with it,
we anticipated a little more man coverage with it and we never got it."
The looming athletic bond was on his mind, as well, after watching
his group of young athletes play their hearts out. "I hope on Tuesday
people go out and vote for kids because these kids deserve it. This isn't quite
home, it would be great to be at home'" he said.
On the other side of the field, Mount Si coach Charlie Kinnune
was feeling the pain of a loss. "I am confused because of the way we
practiced and approached the game," said Kinnune. "We practiced hard, we
"Its all about matchups; they matched us very well and played
with a lot of emotion. Statistically there is one stat they won in, but that's the
only one that counts," continued Kinnune. "I knew, when it was tied, a big
play on special teams is