Mount Si quarterback Clay Millen has the Wildcats off to a 3-0 start in his first season as the starter. Benjamin Olson/ staff photo

Mount Si quarterback Clay Millen has the Wildcats off to a 3-0 start in his first season as the starter. Benjamin Olson/ staff photo

Mount Si quarterback ready to lead

After sitting behind his brother in 2018, Clay Millen has the Mount Si Wildcats off to a 3-0 start.

Mount Si quarterback Clay Millen spent last season sitting behind his brother, Cale. But this year, the keys to the Wildcats offense are in Clay’s hands.

The 6-foot-3 junior has thrown eight touchdown passes to help the Wildcats get off to a 3-0 start this season. Even though it’s his first year as the Mount Si starter, being a quarterback is something familiar to Clay. Along with his brother Cale, a quarterback for the University of Oregon, his father also had a successful career as a quarterback. His father, Hugh Millen, played at the University of Washington before playing eight years in the NFL.

Clay is one of the top passers in the state, having received an offer from the University of Oregon, but he isn’t one to talk about himself. He said he wants to do anything he can to help the team be successful.

“I try to do my job to help benefit the team and lead the team to a victory,” Clay said. “I think we’re really close as a team. We have great players, we have a great wide receiver set, a great offensive line and our defense has been playing great. I think we’re all selfless players and everyone is coming together. At the end of the day, the main goal for everyone is to win the game.”

With three varsity starts under his belt, Clay said he’s beginning to get more comfortable in his role. Being the starting quarterback comes with an expectation that you’re going to be a leader, something that Clay is comfortable with.

“I just love to compete on Friday night,” Clay said. “I think that competitiveness helps lead others. Once we’re out there on Friday night, the competitiveness takes over. I can help lead the team by pushing them and they’re pushing me.”

He said he’s able to find a balance between being vocal and also being composed.

“I can get really fired up and get the guys going,” Clay said. “But I can also sit back and stay relaxed and calm in situations.”

Head coach Charlie Kinnune has seen Clay grow more comfortable as a leader this season as he steps out of his brother’s shadow.

“He’s his own man,” Kinnune said. “He’s a quiet leader, but these last couple games he’s really proven that he’s always had that fire. He’s really becoming his own guy and it’s fun to watch.”

Kinnune said the team has been fortunate to have Clay at quarterback after graduating Cale last season.

“There’s a reason why they pay quarterbacks $25 million a year in the NFL,” Kinnune said. “And they’re that important at the high school level too. We are extremely blessed to have this lineup for this long.”

The schedule for the Wildcats this season has been daunting, but Kinnune said that doesn’t impact how Clay plays.

“He treats every opponent the same,” Kinnune said. “He’s not going to differentiate based off of who the papers say is the best and who the papers say are the worst. He has total respect for all of our opponents, but also an incredible amount of confidence in himself and his teammates.”

Clay said the Wildcats expect to be a playoff team at the end of the year, and playing a gruelling schedule will benefit the team in November.

“That’s definitely going to help us in the long run,” Clay said. “I think it’s going to really help us for the close games and the tough competition. It helps us come together as a team. In those tight games, we know we’ve been there before, we can play a hard team.”

The Wildcats faced a tough test against the Skyview Storm on Sept. 20, but Millen and his teammates were up to the challenge. The Storm got on the board first with a touchdown run, but the point-after attempt was blocked, to keep the score 6-0. Mount Si would score the next 24 points to take control in the third quarter, including three touchdown passes from Millen. The Storm answered back with a touchdown of its own, but once again the Wildcats blocked the point-after attempt to make it a 24-12 lead going into the fourth quarter.

It looked as if the Wildcats had secured the win when running back Daniel Harrison found the end zone from 4 yards out to put them up, 31-12. The Storm would answer right back with a touchdown run of its own and a two-point conversion to cut the lead to 31-20. With five minutes left in the game, Skyview quarterback Yaroslav Duvalko threw a 27-yard touchdown pass, but a failed two-point conversion made it a 31-26 game. Mount Si was able to hold on for the rest of the game to get the 31-26 win at home over the Storm.

The Wildcats’ tough schedule continues when they go on the road to face the Woodinville Falcons (3-0) at 7 p.m. on Sept. 28.

The Record asked Clay a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into his life:

Favorite movie?

Probably “Step Brothers,” that’s a pretty funny movie.

What music are you listening to?

Rap, and I get some country in there too. I like J. Cole.

Dream vacation?

Definitely Hawaii, I love it there.

Favorite subject in school?

I’d probably go with science. I’m taking physics right now. Chemistry was fun last year. I’m also taking forensic science and that interests me a bit.

Hidden talents?

Maybe drawing. If there’s an art project, I can do a little sketch that’s not too bad.

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Mount Si quarterback Clay Millen throws the ball while on the run during practice. Andy Nystrom/ staff photo

Mount Si quarterback Clay Millen throws the ball while on the run during practice. Andy Nystrom/ staff photo