Going into the 2018 football season, Mount Si Wildcats longtime head coach Charlie Kinnune figured sophomore Cole Norah could crack the starting lineup on the defensive side of the ball.
It didn’t happen.
Instead Norah emerged as the Wildcats’ starting running back during August practice sessions. The sophomore ball-carrier scored a team-high three touchdowns against the Issaquah Eagles in the sixth game of the season on Oct. 5. The Wildcats are currently undefeated with an overall record of 6-0.
“He has risen to the top. We had some injuries that first week (to upperclassmen running backs). Cole is above his years in maturity. He handles things well and he’s won championships at every level in every sport. He is a multi-sport athlete and nothing really fazes him,” Kinnune said.
Kinnune said Norah is part of a stalwart sophomore class. The Wildcats have five sophomore starters in the lineup.
“This program has never counted on a sophomore group like we’re counting on this sophomore group right now. We are starting sophomores at center, right tackle, defensive end, outside linebacker and running back. That is a lot,” Kinnune said. “You look at teams like Union, Woodinville, you would be hard pressed to find five starting positions that have sophomores. Cole represents our sophomore class with distinction.”
Norah credited the players around him for his success.
“Our linemen do the work. They are really good and they play hard. We (skill players) shine because of what they do. Our passing game is doing really well, so that opens up the running game. It is a great scheme. Everything is wide open most of the time. The holes are huge,” Norah said of the running lanes he sees after receiving handoffs.
Norah said the team camaraderie permeating throughout the Wildcats roster makes a huge difference against their opponents on Friday nights.
“We are a one-school town. It is a huge factor. Most of us have played together for the past five or six years. Everyone knows each others’ instincts and how to play together. It is a great feeling and is a great way to play the game,” Norah explained. “We are a very competitive team and I feel like we can go pretty far. Everyone underestimates us, but we work so hard day in and day out.”
Kinnune, who has coached the Mount Si football program since the 1992 season, said he’s known Norah since he was 7 years old.
“When you’re a one-community school you get to know these kids over the years. We’ve had youth camps, speed camps over the years. I know Cole’s parents really well and his brother. Those are the kind of things that are exciting for me as a coach,” Kinnune said.
Recently the Valley Record had an opportunity to ask Norah a few questions about his life away from the football field.
Snoqualmie Valley Record: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Cole Norah: Hopefully I’m playing college football somewhere.
SVR: What is your favorite restaurant in the North Bend/Snoqualmie area?
CN: North Bend Bar & Grill. The fries are really good there.
SVR: What is your favorite movie of all time?
CN: “Central Intelligence.” Kevin Hart (main actor of the movie) is so funny.
SVR: What is your biggest pet peeve?
CN: When toilet paper is hanging from the bottom instead of on the top.
SVR: What is your favorite hobby away from football?
CN: Probably playing baseball. I play center field.
SVR: What is something unique about you that nobody would know?
CN: I like to draw sometimes. I like to draw cartoons and animation.
SVR: If you could pick one person to go to dinner with, who would it be?
CN: Walter Payton (former Chicago Bears running back). He is the best running back ever.