Sports

Smith helps Cedarcrest break its losing cycle

BELLEVUE _ On the same night Interlake High School alum

John Olerud led the New York Mets into the National League baseball

playoffs, Cedarcrest's own Michael Smith did his own version of hitting for the

cycle, as the Red Wolves topped the Saints 30-7 in KingCo 3A football action.

Smith _ who caught 20 passes for 348 yards and six touchdowns in

the Wolves' losses to Bellevue and Mercer Island _ played like a man

among boys Friday night on the artificial surface at Interlake. The 6-4 blonde

senior did it all. He threw the football, broke tackles running the ball,

intercepted a pass and scored on a short touchdown reception.

The victory snapped Cedarcrest's losing streak at 13 consecutive

league games and moved the Wolves out of the conference cellar with a 1-5

record. The last Cedarcrest victory was in November of 1997, when they

beat rival Mount Si in the annual Valley Cup showdown.

Coach Art Kuehn met with his players in the center of the field

immediately after the game, telling them they deserved the victory for a

well-played game.

"We still have a few things to work on, but the team should enjoy this

victory because it is long overdue," Kuehn said later. "We did most

things right. The victories will come if they continue to play at this level."

Last year Interlake beat the Red Wolves by the slim margin of a

two-point safety. Friday, Cedarcrest took its first lead of the year in the first

quarter when a snap from center sailed over the head of the Saints' punter and

out of the home team's end zone.

The Wolves upped their lead to nine points two plays later when

senior Morgan Hensley scored the first of his two touchdowns on a

2-yard scamper. The score was set up by a 48-yard spiral from Smith to

junior Nate McLallin on a wide receiver option pass.

Smith scored his touchdown on the first play of the second quarter on a

2-yard toss from senior quarterback Casey Peterson to up the visitors'

lead to 16-0. Henley gave the Wolves a 23-0 halftime advantage with a

15-yard run, with 7:45 left before intermission.

Smith personally stuffed the Saints' only serious threat in the

first half, all in one motion, when he blitzed the Interlake quarterback, batted

the pass high in the air, caught the ball and returned the interception to

the Interlake 17.

The final Cedarcrest score came midway through the third

quarter when junior signal caller Nick Rich found junior tight end Matt

Geiger over the middle for a 9-yard scoring strike.

After Interlake scored its lone touchdown in the fourth

quarter, Kuehn turned the ball over to his running game to use up the clock.

The Wolves controlled the ball for 17 of the game's last 21 minutes to

guarantee the win. The turf was at least partially responsible for

helping Cedarcrest maintain possession as three fumbles bounced back into

the arms of a Red Wolf during the final drive.

"The ball has a tendency to bounce your way when you are playing

well," said Kuehn. "I wanted to see us

run out the clock … and we did."

Henley finished with two touchdowns and 63 yards on the

ground. Senior Eric Dick led the revitalized running game with 76 yards on

just seven carries. The quarterback tandem of Peterson and Rich finished with

13 completions in 20 attempts and two touchdowns. Place-kicker Ben

Frey was successful on all four point-after attempts.

Smith and senior defensive back Cody Wheeler led the Red

Wolves defense with six solo tackles each. Overall, the Cedarcrest defense

allowed just 10 yards running to the Saints.

Smiths' final numbers receiving against Interlake were six

receptions for 108 yards and one touchdown. His longest gain of the night started on

a short pass from Rich. Smith reversed his field behind the line of

scrimmage and avoided tacklers for a 52-yard pickup. The co-captain left the

game in the fourth quarter with cramps in his leg, but is expected to be ready

for this week's match-up on the road in Renton against Liberty.

Last week the Patriots lost a squeeker to Newport (4-2) by

three points and are now tied with Cedarcrest with identical 1-5

records. Liberty is struggling with the Fly Offense installed by first-year

coach Steve Valach.

Cedarcrest lost last season's match with Liberty on homecoming night

in Carnation, 34-14. Issaquah runs the same open Fly Offense, and

the Wolves took the Indians into overtime before dropping a heartbreaking

decision in September.

"Liberty runs the same offense, but they do some things differently

(than Issaquah)," Kuehn explained.

"We'll be ready."

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