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Turnover denies Red Wolves overtime victory
CARNATION Cedarcrest coach Art Kuehn knew what it would
take to beat Issaquah last Friday night: Get senior wide receiver Michael
Smith more involved in the Red Wolves' offense.
That statement rang especially true on the first play of overtime in
Friday's KingCo game against Issaquah. The halfback option pass intended for
junior Nate McLannin was intercepted by the Indians' Torn Applegate deep
in Red Wolf territory.
With Smith out of the game because of dizziness, Issaquah's
Austin Rupe stepped into his defensive zone and caught a 25-yard pass on the
very next play to cap a dramatic comeback by the Indians.
The 20-14 defeat was the third straight for Cedarcrest and the
12th loss in a row over two seasons.
The Red Wolves led 14-6 beginning the fourth quarter and
seemed headed for the winner's circle for the first time in 23 months. That's
when the Indians mounted a fourth-quarter drive the length of the field on an
exhausted Red Wolf squad. Issaquah scored on a one-yard TD plunge.
The two-point conversion tied the score and sent the game into an extra
Smith attracted at least two Issaquah defenders all-night and
finished the evening with just three receptions for 53 yards, including a
27-yard touchdown catch in the opening stanza.
"He should have had 18 catches (after the first two games),"
Kuehn said before Friday's emotional home game at Howard Miller Field.
"We need to get him (Smith) the ball. We're trying to find more ways to put the
ball in his hands."
Smith was a first-team all league selection last season on a team that
finished without a win in nine KingCo 3A conference games.
Kuehn said his inexperienced offensive line must give his
quarterbacks more protection to help Cedarcrest's spread offense. His version of a
pro-spread offense uses three and four wide-outs and only one running back.
McLannin punted seven times against Issaquah, averaging
32-yards per attempt. The Red Wolves' offense was hampered by five turnovers,
including three interceptions.
"It was a long night for both of our quarterbacks," said Kuehn,
referring to junior Nick Rich and senior Casey Peterson. The coach indicated the
pair would probably split playing for the remainder of the KingCo
schedule. Each of the quarterbacks completed only one pass attempt against the
Cedarcrest's Jed Dern scored on a 72-yard counterplay early in the
third quarter to build on Cedarcrest's 7-6 half-time advantage. The 5-10
junior finished with eight carries for 91 yards. Dern completed his only pass
attempt, the first quarter scoring strike to
Smith. He also led the defense with eight unassisted tackles.
Junior Darrin Carrido sat out Friday's game with a broken
collarbone suffered against Sammamish.
After starting the season with two consecutive lopsided losses,
followed by last week's heartbreaker to Issaquah, it is hard to believe that
the Red Wolves are now just beginning the toughest part of their KingCo
schedule. Over the next 14 days Cedarcrest will go on the road to take on the
undefeated Bellevue Wolverines before returning to the Valley for
homecoming on Oct. 8, when they host the powerful Islanders from Mercer
Friday's clash in the shadow of Bellevue Square will match
the Wolves against the power running attack of Bellevue High. The
Wolverines trounced Liberty 40-9 last week, scoring 40 consecutive points,
including 111 yards and two touchdowns by Cory Stosich as Bellevue piled up
369 yards on the ground.
Wolverine fullback Lane Johnson continued his scoring frenzy
with touchdowns on runs of 1 and 9-yards, plus a 19-yard TD reception.
Johnson has scored nine touchdowns in the past two conference games.
"I would feel much better about going up against Bellevue if our
linemen could add about 30 pounds and four inches each before game
time," said Kuehn. "That probably won't happen, so we'll spend this week
trying to come up with something that will knock their locomotive off
Johnson scored twice in last year's late October game that ended in a
49-14 win for Bellevue. The Wolverines run the potentially lethal "Wing T"
offense. Smith is expected to be back at full strength for this Friday's
"If we survive this week, things should really be looking up,"
Smith told The Valley Record. "The seniors on this team have waited a long
time for a win. They worked hard against Issaquah and deserve a real win."