Sports

Wildcats hang on to beat Issaquah

The Mount Si Wildcats football team got a little more than they bargained for last Friday night, Sept. 29, at home against a tough Issaquah Eagles squad. Mount Si survived the test, thanks to some great defense.

Five key sacks of Issaquah quarterback Ryan Wewerka in the second half, combined with some timely offense, helped the Wildcats to a 19-13 victory in front of a large crowd at Mount Si High School.

"It seems to be kind of happening. Our defense keeps stepping up and doing a nice job," said Wildcat coach Charlie Kinnune as Mount Si maintained their hold on second place in Kingco 3A with the victory.

The Wildcats got on the board first on their first drive. Brandon Yakaboski scored from two yards out and after Gibson Bardsley kicked the extra point, Mount Si was up 7-0. Initially though it looked as if the Wildcats weren't going to score. They had gone three-and-out and had punted the ball, but Issaquah's returner fumbled the punt. It was recovered by the Wildcats, keeping the possession alive for Mount Si. The drive was also aided by a pass interference call against the Eagles.

The Wildcats opened the second quarter with a strong, clock-consuming drive. The drive went for naught however as Bardsley missed a 41-yard field goal attempt. After a short Issaquah possession, Mount Si regained the ball following an Eagle punt and with less than a minute left in the half, quarterback Ian Atkinson threw a pass to Dan Reeves in the end zone for a touchdown. Bardsley missed the extra point, but the Wildcats were in business up 13-0.

Unfortunately, penalties reared their ugly head again for Mount Si. After a long kickoff return by Issaquah and personal foul penalty on the Wildcats, the Eagles started the resulting possession at the Mount Si 35-yard line and they finished it with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Wewerka to tight end Bryce Buslach. After their extra point, Issaquah was down just 13-7 at the half. "Penalties were an issue and we have a real aggressive team and when you have an aggressive team, those are the things that take place," Kinnune said.

Issaquah opened the second half on offense and got deep into Mount Si territory before the first of the key Wildcat sacks of the Eagles' Wewerka, this courtesy of linebacker Brian Olson, shut down the drive. Mount Si then took over and chewed up even more clock. Sean Bothell finished things off, scoring a touchdown for the Wildcats. The two-point attempt failed, but Mount Si was up two scores at 19-7 late in the third.

Issaquah opened the fourth quarter on offense and despite the best efforts of the Wildcat defense, got it into the end zone as Brian Brady caught a Wewerka pass just past the goal line. Their two-point attempt failed and it was 19-13 at that point.

Reeves got the bulk of the running load in the second half after Yakaboski left with a hip injury. Don't expect Yakaboski to be out long, though. "He'll be ready to go. He's a tough kid, he's a quick healer and we'll make sure we get him treated," Kinnune said. Reeves made the most of his efforts, getting quality yards on each of his runs.

That said, the defense really stepped it up. Following their touchdown, the Eagles had two more offensive possessions and both times, sacks by Wildcat Dexter Moetului and incomplete passes made those drives moot. On the Eagles' final offensive play, a fourth-and-13 from their own 42-yard line with just over a minute left by Josh Lindor sealed it up for the Wildcats, breaking up a pass attempt by Wewerka.

"We just played hard, that's all I could say. We had to gut it out," Reeves said. Yakaboski credited the fans, who were especially loud late in the game, with firing up the defense. "Our defense, we get our crowd behind us and we get jacked and once we get up there, we don't come down," he said. Mount Si plays a nonleague game this week at Seattle's Memorial Stadium against the Garfield Bulldogs of Kingco 4A with game time at 5 p.m.

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