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KingCo champs gear up for new season
The 1998 KingCo 3A football champs are alive and well, despite
losing a large number of key players to graduation. The team that
went 8-2 last year has some rebuilding to do, but with a JV squad
that went 7-0 and a "C" team that went 7-1, the
rebuilding part should come easier than most expect.
The big question for this year is where the `Cats will end up,
with only four returning players offensively and four
"We could do one of two different things depending on how
we progress," says head coach Charlie Kinnune, who possesses
an overall record of 37-27.
"Our Junior class is going to decide where we are at. If
they progress and improve every week, then we could very well be
in the hunt at the end. If we can pull an upset in our first two
games and win our next two games and be three and one, then I
think we will be all right.
"If our juniors don't progress and don't get better and
don't make plays, then we are in for what could be a long
season," he adds.
Another big question for all of KingCo is where the teams
stand. Will one team dominate, or is there a level of parity?
"I think anyone with two or three losses may very well be
in the hunt this year, since there is so much parity in our
league," says Kinnune. "I don't think there will be
anybody that will run the league this year ... anyone with two or
three losses in the last week has a shot."
"Sammamish has nine returning players. Skyline has
everybody back except their running back. They are still
dominated by juniors, so they have a chance to do some great
"I think Mercer Island and Bellevue will always be in the
mix because they are coached well, have good athletes and have
smart athletes," Kinnune continues. "I think they will
always be at the top of the league. Newport is going to be better
"Really, there are four of five teams that could win the
darn thing this year. The teams that are down will be Liberty,
Interlake and Cedarcrest, since they lost a lot off of their
teams, but I did hear their numbers are up."
In years past, standouts like Chris Riley, Justin Odom, David
Weller and Aaron Binger provided key talent. For the upcoming
season, coach Kinnune has to look to a new set of faces to make
"Dan Thompson (6'0", 162 lbs., Sr.) is a key to both
our offense and defense," says the coach. "Sean Sexton
(5'11", 237 lbs., Sr.) is also a key. They are two good
football players and experienced. Even though Sean is an
offensive guard, he is the catalyst for the offense.
"David Cole (5'9", 198 lbs., Sr.) has certainly been
a good leader for us and will play both sides of the ball. Brad
Connor ( 6'2", 282 lbs., Jr.) will also do good things for
us in the line positions."
Mount Si has had a well balanced attack in past years, with
both a running game in Binger and a passing game with Riley. With
this year being one of rebuilding, will the balanced attack still
be there, and who will the play makers be for offense?
"A lot of people classify us as a passing team, but in
reality we have a balanced attack," Kinnune responds.
"I don't know if we will be quite as balanced. We are going
to have to run the ball to win, and to win we will have to run
the ball. But, there are going to be times that we won't even
resemble last year's team."
Offensively, the team will look to Cole to step up and play
both running back and full back. Mike Dollinter (5'11", 177
lbs., Jr.) has had a good couple of weeks at running back and has
shown promise. Shaun Maurer (5'11", 223 lbs. Soph.) will
play fullback and defense, while Austin Bachelder (5'11",
186 lbs., Jr.) will also be in the mix at running back.
"Shaun is a very strong gutsy kid and will play both
sides of the ball for us" says Kinnune.
"Until someone separates himself from the pack as being
much better than the rest, it could be running back by committee.
We have solid kids that are unproven, so we are going to see who
proves himself in game situations."
Leading the offense a good part of the year will be John Odom
(6'0", 148 lbs., Jr.) playing quarterback. Returning to the
offense will be Brandon Prior (5'8", 225 lbs., Sr.) at
center, Sexton, Connor and John Felt (5'10", 212 lbs., Sr.)
Defensively the team expects solid performances from its core
of juniors. The defensive front is made up of four underclassmen,
including Steve Botulinski (6'3", 213 lbs., Jr.), who will
start at defensive end. At the other end will be Adam McKenzie
(6'4", 204 lbs., Jr.), who didn't start last year but played
Also playing defense are Connor, Nick Kehoe (6'0", 259
lbs., Jr.) Geoff Hise (6'3", 239 lbs., Jr.), Maurer and Todd
Backlin (6'0", 173 lbs., Jr.) who will play at middle
There are others that Kinnune is expecting big things out of.
"Tyler Osborn (5'8", 142 lbs., Jr.,), Eddie Horstman
(6'1", 162 lbs., Jr.) and C.J. Stanford ( 6'0", 170
lbs., Jr.) are all juniors that have to perform and come to
play," the coach says.
"Bret Bergstrom (6'1", 161 lbs.) is a sophomore who
is going to play wide receiver, defensive back and kicker for us.
Jeff Stone (5'6", 141 lbs., Sr.) and Hiram Tame (5'11",
152 lbs., Sr.) are defensive backs. So there are tall orders for
unproven people, but I believe they are going to come through and
that makes this an exciting year."
New to the staff this year is a former rival head coach,
Thomas Mosby. Mosby will be assisting the Wildcats as defensive
"I think he is having fun again," says Kinnune.
"I think Thomas is glad to be back in that position. He has
added a lot of great experience and a new enthusiasm."
Last year was the first time a Mount Si team went to the state
playoffs since 1982, and only the second time in school history.
The question on everyone's mind is whether the organization can
"Keeping things in perspective this year will be
important," touts Kinnune. "Having long-range goals and
watching ourselves improve every week will be fundamental. We may
have to find some victories in our losses and celebrate in areas
that you won't necessarily see on the scoreboard.
"There are basic concepts that we call Wildcat
football," Kinnune concludes, "and that is play hard,
play smart, play fair, playing to win and keeping things in
perspective. If we do that, we will be successful no matter what
our record is."
Mount Si starts the season against league rival Mercer Island
on Sept. 9 at Mercer Island. Game time is 7 p.m. Their home
opener will be Sept. 17 at the Mount Si field against Skyline at