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Snoqualmie Valley insider talks semi-final matchup with Bellevue | Prep football Q and A
When it comes to passion for prep sports, Rhett Workman and the Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal are virtually unmatched. Workman has the scoop on Bellevue's next and former opponents from Mount Si (Friday, 7 p.m., Tacoma Dome) and talked with the Reporter about what has changed since that regular season matchup, what hasn't, and what has to go right for the Wildcats to pull off the upset.
For those interested, Rhett also fired off some questions for me about the Wolverines and you can find that conversation on his blog as well.
BELLEVUE REPORTER: Was Mount Si able to take anything positive away from the meeting earlier this year?
RHETT WORKMAN: Without having asked anyone directly that question from Mount Si, I can’t answer that directly, but I will say that for as much buzz and publicity the matchup had, not only within the school, but around the Snoqualmie Valley community (and the blog was maybe the leader in that), the end result being what it was, and the manner in which it occurred, had to have left a sour taste in people’s mouths. But, the team has responded very well since then and this week essentially now is a new week and what happened October 12 is almost, in a sense, water under the bridge at this point. The Mount Si guys learned some things from that loss; it will be interesting to see if they utilize any of that this week.
REPORTER: What happened in that game that made the result so drastically different from the rest of the season for the Wildcats?
WORKMAN: The simple truth to that is that Bellevue came out on all cylinders and Mount Si clearly was not ready for what the Wolverines were doing. Bellevue definitely made a big statement that night.
REPORTER: How do they change things this time around?
WORKMAN: Well, the first thing Mount Si needs to do is be ready to make adjustments on the fly and really study the film this week. They also have developed a serviceable running attack, something which was non-existent during the first meeting as the Wildcats’ top running back, senior Riley Reed, was out injured. Now, it’s a running back by committee approach, with seniors Keenan McVein and Joey Cotto, along with juniors Evan Johnson and Bailey Takacs sharing that load. And all of them have done good things the past few weeks.
REPORTER: Can the Mount Si passing game be effective against this defense?
WORKMAN: It’s hard to say, but the Wildcats will certainly give it their best shot, no question. The key will be making sure the running game is effective enough so they can mix up the offense well and keep the Bellevue defense off-balance.
REPORTER: What has Mount Si done in the weeks after the Bellevue game to get back on track?
WORKMAN: Well, nothing except do what they are, and have been, capable of doing, and their wins against MI and Liberty in the final two weeks of the Kingco schedule following the Bellevue loss were case in point. The blueprint that Mount Si has established this fall for success is simple: Strong offense, strong defense, strong special teams. A complete effort from all facets of the game.
REPORTER: Is the program/team taking this more as a "just another game" approach after maybe overhyping it for the last two years?
WORKMAN: Well, if you were to ask star senior receiver Trent Riley, the answer probably is no. Here’s what he told the blog following the Wildcat win over Kennedy Saturday night; to set this up, we had asked him for his feelings about the win and the historical significance of it, which was that this was the first time in school history Mount Si had won 11 games in a season in football, and this is what he said: “Right now you can’t even explain it. It’s probably the happiest moment ever, but we aren’t done. We still want to win the whole thing.” The last part of what Riley told us there we guess probably speaks for most, if not all, the players and coaches, and the school is certainly waking up to it again – they have announced a student rooter bus for the game. That bus will probably sell out.
REPORTER: Mount Si wins if
WORKMAN: As I previously noted, if they can make adjustments on the fly to what Bellevue will bring, which is quite a lot, and also have an effective-enough ground game to mix in with the passing attack, the Wildcats will be in business. Also, they have to simply have fun and not feel pressure to win. After all, regardless of the result, the 2012 version of the Wildcats will go down in history as the greatest to ever wear that uniform.
REPORTER: Bellevue wins if
WORKMAN: They do what they did well in the previous meeting, which was basically everything, with one exception: The Wolverines really need to clean up the penalties. As many Bellevue fans will remember, Mount Si’s first real sustained offensive drive, the one which ended with the Cameron Van Winkle field goal in the second quarter, came with the help of a number of Wolverines penalties. So Bellevue has to, especially if the game stays close, keep the penalties at a minimum, especially those major 15-yard ones. For both teams, there is no mystery here. They know who they need to shut down to have success on defense, they know who needs to step up to have success on offense. Both teams have film from that game most likely so they are doing their studying up without question and making adjustments in practices. Whichever team does the better job of preparing this week should be in position to win this game.