When you’re the two-time defending Kingco 4A champs, there’s going to be a bull’s eye on your back. Such was the case last Friday in Snoqualmie. The Woodinville Falcons entered a den of hostility and went down to defeat at Mount Si, 27-17.
The game pitted two teams ranked in the state’s top ten. But four touchdown passes from Mount Si’s Cale Millen combined with Woodinville miscues proved to be the difference.
“It just highlights that when you make mistakes early on against a quality opponent they’re going to capitalize on both sides of the ball,” Woodinville coach Wayne Maxwell said. “[Mount Si] did that tonight. I love how our guys fight and compete but we dug ourselves too big of a hole.”
As the opening kickoff sailed through the air, the packed grandstands pulsated with energy. Fans from both teams were fired up for some Friday night football.
Cale Millen quickly led his team on a 80-yard drive to put Mount Si up 7-0. For a Wildcat team that entered the game averaging 52 points a game, one wondered how Woodinville’s defense would respond.
After Falcon kicker Blake Glessner booted a 28-yard field goal, he went to work on defense, intercepting a Millen pass to thwart a drive.
“All glory to God, but I just backpedaled and got the pick,” Glessner said. “I don’t think [Millen] saw me. I saw the ball and it was like, `That’s mine!’ It felt good.”
A key moment came in the second quarter. The Falcons trailed 7-3 and had the ball 4th down and two yards to go at the Mount Si 48-yard line. Woodinville rolled the dice and went for it. But quarterback Noah Stifle was stifled when he ran a keeper and was tackled short of the first down. Mount Si took possession and promptly drove 52 yards for a touchdown, putting the Wildcats up 14-3.
Maxwell was asked about the crucial decision to got for it on fourth down. “Our guys were trying to compete to try to win the game,” Maxwell said. “Those are plays that we need to convert to win championship football.”
Woodinville kept things close. Blake Glessner drilled a majestic 45-yard field goal with 0:08 left before halftime. This made the score 14-6.
Early in the third quarter, the Falcons kept scrapping. With Mount Si sitting on the Falcon ten yard line, Woodinville’s Dylan Lewis and Aiden Colley recorded back-to-back quarterback sacks. This forced a field goal attempt, which veered wide left.
But moments later, a crucial Woodinville turnover quickly led to another Mount Si touchdown. The Wildcats now led 20-6.
Woodinville receivers dropped several passes on this soggy night. But Cage Schenck hauled in a big one in the fourth quarter. The speedster thrilled the Falcon crowd with a 70-yard touchdown reception. Near the thirty yard line, two Wildcat defenders attempted to cut him off at the sideline. But his Houdini footwork neutralized their effort.
“I ran as fast as I could down the sideline,” Schenck said. “When I saw them, I slowed down a bit and hit them with a hezzy [translation for older readers: “hesitation move”], and then sped up. I was able to stop their feet and get by them and score.”
A Stifle-to-Nolan Down pass in the end zone converted the two-point conversion. This made the score 27-17. But that ended up being the final tally.
On the night, Stifle threw for 192 yards and two touchdowns. Schenck caught three passes for 97 yards. Joey Johnson and Nolan Downs combined for 111 yards rushing. On defense, Josh Spencer recorded a team-high seven tackles. Dylan Lewis and Aiden Colley were both all over the field, each recording a sack. Nate Dixon registered six tackles and two QB sacks.
Mount Si improved to 4-0 on the season, while Woodinville dropped to 3-1.
“We’re licking our wounds, but being optimistic, it [counts as a] non-conference game for us,” Maxwell said. “I hate losing. Nothing will ever change that. But there’s now a lot of great film against good quality competition to study. Film doesn’t lie. There are things we need to iron out if we want to make a deep run [this season].”