Ben’s Breakdown: Mount Si Football Ready to Prove Last Year Was No Fluke; Open vs. Kennedy Tonight, September 6th

Thanks to Mount Si High School senior and aspiring sports writer, Ben Evensen, for this analysis of the Wildcats 2013 season and home opener, which is less than 6 hours away now.  Look for Ben’s column all season long, before each Mount Si football game.  Go Wildcats!

After the most successful season in Mount Si football history, the Wildcats are back for another season and have their sights set on another trip to the Tacoma Dome. They open the season, once again, playing host to Kennedy Catholic this Friday, September 6th, at Mount Si High School.

Season Preview

Last year, the team finished 11-2, and 3rd place in State. Both losses came at the hands of nationally ranked Bellevue High School, who while finishing 14-0, won their 5th straight Washington State title.

Mount Si is definitely not the team they were last year, as the majority of last year’s starters are gone. But despite the major losses across the board, enough holes are filled with quality players to still make the Wildcats one of the top teams 3A teams in the state.

This year, the offense will try to match last season’s passing game success. Star quarterback, Nick Mitchell, who already is committed to Oregon State, returns and will look for an almost completely new corps of receivers to help him. Gone are Mitchell’s offensive weapons of last season like Trent Riely, Joey Cotto, Griffin McLain, and Tyler Button. Now, he will look to an almost completely new receiving corps, full of converted defensive players, and new-comers like Wyatt Baker and Jack Nelson.

The Wildcat running game is in a good position with Bailey Tackas, and the offensive line has some solid pieces. With a quarterback like Mitchell at the helm, the Wildcats will have leadership and talent leading the way offensively. The only question mark is how well Mount Si’s receivers can play, and how close they can come to matching the production of last year’s receivers. If they struggle to keep up with Mitchell, problems will arise for the Wildcats.

On the defensive side of the ball for Mount Si, quality players like Hank Van Liew, Hunter Malberg and Jimbo Davis are gone. The Wildcat defense, one of the best in the state last year, will look to players such as Beau Shain, Evan Johnson and Drew Cotto to provide another intimidating presence for opponents. The defense should be easier to replace than the offense for Mount Si – and will be key to the Wildcat success if the offense falters.

Overall, this Wildcat team is still one of the better ones in school history when you look down the roster. While they are not as talented as last year’s squad, there is still enough skill on both sides of the ball to make this team a threat –  in not just KingCo 3A, but the entire state. The defensive talent will be there again, and the offense is already in a lucky position with Mitchell under center.

It will really come down to how well this receiving core can play, and if they can play well enough for Mitchell to not skip a beat from last season. But because of the defensive strength, and Mitchell, the Wildcats will get back to the State playoffs. If the receivers can match the production Mitchell needs, Mount Si could even find themselves back in the Tacoma Dome.


 Kennedy Catholic Game Preview

For the third time in two seasons, they Wildcats will take on Kennedy Catholic High School from Burien, WA. Kennedy played host to Mount Si for the 2012 season opener . That ended in a huge Wildcat victory. In the state playoffs, both teams met again, with Mount Si playing host. The Wildcats won again 38-7.

Kennedy will understandably be out for revenge for last season’s losses. Led by Senior Colin Cossette, who returns after rushing for more than 1,000 yards last year, Kennedy should still be a force to be reckoned with.  The Seattle Times ranks the Lancers at #9 in state for 3A, so Kennedy should be headed to the playoffs once again.

While Kennedy will be the second or third hardest opponent Mount Si will see all season, the Wildcats are just more talented across the board. As long as the Wildcats can stay poised, avoid mental mistakes and not get cocky because of past victories over Kennedy, they should come out on top.

The Mount Si receivers will keep up with Mitchell, move the ball and leave Kennedy helpless on defense. The new defense will come out hot, contain Kennedy’s offense and Mount Si will make it 3-in-a-row vs. the Lancers.

Prediction: Mount Si 35 Kennedy 14

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