The Class 3A Mount Si Wildcats, fresh off a stunning loss to Woodinville in its home opener last week, beat Class 4A Bothell soundly, 26-14, at Pop Keeney Stadium on Saturday night.
Junior kicker Cameron Vanwinkle booted four field goals for the visitors, including a go-ahead 47-yarder late in the third quarter that would have been good from 57 — and right down the can.
The Cougars grabbed an early 7-0 lead when Austen Dahl hit Trent Sewell in the corner at the 2:30 mark of the first quarter, but then big trouble struck: 290-pound junior center Kevin Seguine went down on a routine running play two minutes later, and he stayed down, motionless.
Emergency care was summoned, the north end zone gates were opened and 30 long and somber minutes later he was carted off the field, though moving his arms with an apparent head or neck injury, headed to the hospital.
The incident seemed to take the starch out of the Cougars during the delay, and things quickly went from bad to worse: stud running backs Seymour Ottorbech and Danny Wilson, Jr. immediately went down with injuries — Ottorbech with a lower leg issue (he left the field on crutches) and Wilson with a broken wrist, apparently done for his highly anticipated junior season.
Meanwhile, Mount Si scored on its next three drives — a TD pass and two field goals — to grab a 13-7 halftime lead.
Vanwinkle launched the second half kickoff into the back of the end zone for another touchback — none of his five kickoffs were returned — and Bothell went three-and-out.
But Dahl’s punt was muffed by the Wildcats and the Cougars recovered on the 20.
One play later, he found Sewell again on a fade to the corner and Bothell — just like that — had the lead back, 14-13.
But its offense — down three starters — faltered. After another three-and-out, including a self-induced collision in the backfield between quarterback and backup running back on third-and-4, Mount Si had a big punt return and then Vanwinkle slammed in his 47-yarder to go up 16-14 and swing the momentum.
Bothell would not score again, and the Wildcats tacked on 10 fourth quarter points.
“Tonight we just caught ’em,” 20-year Mount Si coach Charlie Kinnune said. “I’ve coached over 200 games and this one’s right up there — a great win.
“We came away pretty bruised from that Woodinville game but had a great week of practice. Our kids were highly competitive and intense ... and bounced back.”
And what about his kicker? “I think he won a scholarship tonight,”
Kinnune said with a broad smile. “He’s just a junior but he’s been kicking for us since he was a freshman. He’s strong, has a big leg and he’s worked for it. What he hasn’t done in the past is make the long field goal, but he did tonight ... that 47-yarder I think ties a school record.”
And how did the Wildcats bounce back from a humbling home loss last week, driving 40 miles on a bus to beat Bothell at their place?
“We had six guys out on athletic code violations last week, but Woodinville took it to us. We were thinned out, but Woodinville’s an awful good team and so is Bothell.”
Kinnune paused then continued, as his squad celebrated postgame.
“You gotta remember we play Bellevue, Juanita, Liberty every year ... we play good teams .... Eastlake, Skyline, Issaquah. We don’t always have sexy win-loss records but we’re a decent program and I’m real proud of our kids tonight.”
Bothell coach Tom Bainter, not real familiar with losing at the Pop, was gracious in defeat on a very tough night.
“We made some inexperienced, young mistakes — like we did last week,” he said. “We talked about protecting the ball a little better, not missing as many signals, not having as many assignment errors ... But that’s what happened tonight. We broke down in so many different facets of the game. And when you get injuries you get even less experienced guys out there.”
He said the fact of the matter was Bothell did not take care of its assignments like a good team should and did not take care of the ball — evidenced by four costly turnovers.
“Mount Si was better than us tonight. They beat us up, and their kicker’s fabulous. They got him in field goal range and he made his kicks. They played sound football and we didn’t. Hats off to them.”
Note: Seguine was checked out and released from Evergreen Hospital with a “mild concussion,” late on Saturday night, Bainter said on Sunday morning.