Red Wolves take trophy

— image credit:

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

took over.

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

got better.

"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

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