Wildcats scratch out win against Eagles
September 17, 2013
By David Hayes
Issaquah and Mount Si high schools may not compete in the same league any more. But that hasn’t diminished the intensity of the rivalry that has built between the two perennial powerhouses.
The Eagles’ stadium was standing room only when the team hosted the Wildcats Sept. 12. Both squads delivered a contest worthy of a rivalry. The nonleague game’s outcome was in question until the final minutes, when No. 5 ranked Class 3A Mount Si held on to its come-from-behind victory against 4A Issaquah, 28-20.
Mount Si head coach Charlie Kinnune said the Wildcats have been a team “in search of an identity.”
“We’re just a blood-and-guts, blue-collar, grind-it-out team,” he said. “We’ve got good skill kids, but that was a real grinder and it was awesome.”
Kinnune had the Wildcats (2-0) ready for the Eagles’ (1-1) home opener.
“When we came out, we knew it was going to be a close game,” Wildcats senior Beau Shain said. “I don’t remember a better nail-biter.”
Shain played a key role in the win, and was seemingly everywhere at once on the field — the tight end/outside linebacker finished the game with two touchdown catches, an interception and a fumble recovery with 1:41 left that cinched the victory for Wildcats.
Most of Shain’s heroics were in the second half. The Eagles’ no-huddle offense seemed to have the Wildcats on their heels the first half. Issaquah had two sustained drives end in frustrating fumbles for turnovers.
Mount Si actually got on the scoreboard first with a Nick Mitchell 10-yard pass to Jake Smith at 1:55 left in the first quarter.
Then, senior Jack Gellatly got rolling, scoring a pair of touchdowns — an 8-yard, spinning power move to tie the game and a 26-yard ramble that put Issaquah up 13-7 after a blocked extra-point attempt.
Gellatly would finish the night with 106 yards rushing on 18 carries.
“It was just really a gut check, being down at half,” Shain said. “We just made adjustments, and came out with a victory. Nothing feels better. This school is probably the closest school to us, and we’re out in the Valley.”
Shain set the second-half comeback in motion, running a Mitchell pass for 13-yard score and a 14-13 lead.
The Wildcats edge was short-lived, as Derek Chapman ran the ensuing kickoff back 92 yards for a touchdown that put the Eagles back on top 20-13.
The Eagles’ defense made its share of stops, with senior Jacob Peterson leading the effort with four sacks.
“He’s a hard-working kid,” Eagle head coach Chris Bennett said of the 2012 first all-league defender. “He was phenomenal tonight. We knew most of fall camp what we had. He’s got heart and soul, and is tough as nails.”
But Bennett was frustrated by the overall effort, conceding how difficult it is to win with four turnovers.
“You can’t have 60- or 70-yard drives end in turnovers,” Bennett said. “We also have to clean up penalties. We started first-and 20 or 25 at least three times.”
The final nine minutes of the game seemed to belong to Shain, as he caught another 1-yard TD pass from Mitchell with 9:54 on the clock to give the Wildcats a lead at 21-20 they wouldn’t relinquish.
Shain stalled another fourth-quarter Eagles drive with an interception. Mount Si capitalized on the turnover when Mitchell scored on a QB keeper, scampering for a 26-yard run.
Senior Wildcat running back Bailey Takacs chewed up much of the team’s yardage, grinding out 84 yards on 22 attempts.
Shain sealed the victory, forcing a final Eagles fumble, allowing Mount Si to run out the clock.
Issaquah vs. O’Dea
7 p.m. Sept. 20
4Issaquah High School