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Wildcats show promise despite loss
Mount Si kicked off its regular season last Friday night by
traveling to Mercer Island to take on the Islanders. Unfortunately, and despite
a strong offensive showing, the `Cats failed to stop the impressive
ground game of the Islanders, led by Justin McCullum and David Kirtman,
and wound up on the short side of the score, 42-21.
The first quarter started in a promising fashion as Mount Si fielded
the opening kick and marched down the field for a score. The drive, led by
the running of David Cole, included talented moves by Mike Dollinter
and Dan Thompson. A quarterback keeper from two yards out by
Thompson nailed the score and with the extra point the Wildcats took the initial
Next up for their first showing of the season was the Mount Si
defense. Marching down field to the Mount Si 24, the Islanders' drive was
derailed after a pass fell incomplete on fourth down. Mount Si also failed to
score on their next drive, forcing a punt, which the Islanders fielded at
their own 40 yard line and returned to the Mount Si 40.
From there, Mercer Island quarterback Sam Hale went to work. Using
a combination of mid-field passes and runs by McCullum, the Islanders
easily scored with 10:15 left in the second quarter. The extra point kick
was good, tying the score at seven each.
On the next drive, the Mount Si offense stalled, forcing a punt, but
the defense would step up to the challenge as Chad Mills picked off a Hale
pass on his own 20 yard line. Again the offense stalled and again the
defense would get the ball back, this time on a fumble by the Islanders deep in
Starting from their own 24, the Wildcats launched a
well-executed drive led by the running of Cole and Dollinter. The drive was capped by
a dive up the middle by Dollinter with 2:08 left in the half. The point
after was blocked, giving the Wildcats a shaky 13-7 lead.
But, it didn't take long for Mercer Island to answer the question of
who would lead going into the locker room at halftime. Three plays
later, McCullum would stumble his way into the end zone and with the
extra point added, the Islanders led at halftime, 14-13.
They came back out with a determined look in the second half, and
it showed in their first drive. McCullum and Kirtman picked apart the
Wildcat secondary, working their way towards the end zone. A keeper by Hale
from one yard out added to the score and with the extra point, the score was
the Islanders 21, Mount Si 13.
The `Cats were quick to answer, though, as the offense - with
Jon Odom at the helm - arched the ball quickly down the field. Passes to
Thompson and running by Cole got the ball to the Islander 43. From there,
a pass by Odom to tight-end Steve Botulinski moved the ball to the
MI 20, well within scoring range.
Dollinter added his skill to the mix, getting the ball to the five yard
line where Odom lobbed a pass to 6'6" Erik Lanigan for the touchdown.
A two-point conversion by Dollinter tied up the game at 21 each with 5:26
left in the third quarter.
It looked as though Mount Si might just have the momentum to
keep it close or even pull out a win, but the same trouble that plagued the
Wildcat secondary came through again: inexperience.
With 2:32 left in the quarter, a draw play would score another
Islander touchdown, making it a 28-21 game. They would score again on a run
by Kirtman with 9:04 left in the game adding insult to injury at 35-21.
The final score would come as Kirtman again would drive up
the middle and with the extra point, would cap off the scoring with Mercer
Island on top, 42 to the Wildcats' 21.
"We had a lot of bright spots in this game," touted coach Charlie
Kinnune. "We kept the penalties down, didn't have any turnovers and I'm
pleased with our running game.
"Our passing game also improved, but we showed our youth on
defense tonight," he added. "I knew our
youth was going to come out, but not quite in the way it came out. We did not
react well to halftime so they came out in the second half and took it to
us pretty good. Those are all correctable things, and this team has a bright
future," said Kinnune.
"For Skyline we need to work on all phases of the game," the coach
said, looking ahead to next week's contest. "We need to work on our
perimeter defense. It is Skyline, and they are
all about passing, with a good running game as well."
Mount Si will take on Skyline at home this Friday in their home
opener. Game time is 7:30 p.m.