November 5, 2001
Wildcats hang on to take Valley Cup
by Doug Sage
The Cedarcrest Red Wolves played a valiant, but unsuccessful game last Friday against the Wildcats of Mt. Si in the traditional end of the season game, the Valley Cup.
Played in surprisingly good weather, the Wildcats made good use of early Red Wolf mistakes to take an early lead and then held on to their 21-14 lead as Cedarcrest threatened several times late in the ballgame.
The Red Wolves fumbled their first snap of the night and the Wildcats scored early as their first play went for a reverse and a 22-yard TD to shock the crowd and take a quick 7-0 lead with less than a minute gone in the game.
The Red Wolves answered right back as they moved deftly down the field on a nice 80-yard drive to tie it up. A big 25-yard pass completion from Sean McDonald to Aaron O'Neal, and Tommy Harding scored on a 10-yard run with 4:46 left in the 1st quarter.
After a drive that went nowhere by the Red Wolves, Mt. Si took over after a nice punt by Matt Mundy and tackle by Brett DeVries. Mt. Si put the capper on that drive with a TD as the QB threw out to the left side and a low completion was made for an 18-yard TD to raise the score to 21-7 with 9:22 left in the 2nd quarter.
Cedarcrest started their next drive with promise as Tommy Harding and Tommy Felts were running hard only to have Harding re-injure his shoulder after the biggest defensive lineman I have ever seen in high school football fell on him after a 2-yard gain. Unable to return, Harding and his shifty moves were missed by the Red Wolf offense. O'Neal got the Red Wolves on track with a great 20-yard run down inside the Wildcat 28 following Felts into the hole.
From there, O'Neal, following great blocking by the offensive line led by Robbie Westerman, Curtis Coe, Vong Ly, Cole Birk and Coy Chittenden, scored on a 1-yard plunge to close the gap to 21-14 with 2:41 left in the 2nd quarter.
Mt. Si made the first mistake in the second half after the opening kick-off return. The Red Wolf defense stepped up and created their first turnover of the night and Robbie Westerman recovered a Mt. Si fumble at the 13.
The Red Wolves started to loosen up their offense with the pass as McDonald completed a pass to Zack Taylor and Aaron O'Neal made a nice catch on the fly route to move the ball out to midfield. Cedarcrest stalled and playing the field position game, Mundy punted for the Red Wolves and the ball rolled dead inside the Wildcat 10.
The defense really came to play as Tommy Felts made a nice tackle on the QB bootleg play to drop him for a 4-yard loss. Then O'Neal blitzed up the middle and forced an early throw by the QB which was picked off by Cody Pettersen and things were looking up for the Red Wolves. A run and a couple passes brought the Red Wolves to 4th and 3 at the 14, where a fade route to Pettersen was over his head and Mt. Si took over on downs and that threat was over.
As the Wildcats were trying desperately to move the ball, great defense by O'Neal stopped the running back in the backfield to bring up 3rd and 9 for the Wildcats, who were forced to punt again to the surging Red Wolves.
On their first play, the Red Wolves, on a double reverse, flanker pass, Zack Taylor completed a pass to Cody Pettersen out over midfield to the Wildcat 42 and the Red Wolves were on the march.
Receptions by Kyle Eldred and Taylor got them a first down. O'Neal rambled around left end for 9, and Dan Merrick struggled for the first down on 4th and 1 to get it at the 22 with 1:01 to play. An incomplete pass, a short run and a sack left them with 4th and 13 at the 25 as the clock wound down inside of 15 seconds to play. McDonald scrambled left, wound up and delivered the final pass of the season towards the goal line and a possible victory in this most storied of eastside sports rivalries.
As the ball floated towards its intended target, time stood still as the memories of this entire season floated with it. The great opening game win over Mercer Island, the gutsy win over Liberty, the tough losses at Bellevue and Sammamish, all following the ball as it flew towards two receivers in the end zone.
Oh, for the few yards lost on the interception, oh for the few more seconds that might have been. The ball was tipped and as both receivers lunged for the prized possession, it fell harmlessly to the soggy turf and the game with it. Two seconds remained on the clock, but it was academic, Mt. Si had wrested the Valley Cup from the home town team who played hard and spirited all night.
A great season by the team. They came to play every week, and always gave it everything they had. We owe them a big cheer, and a loud rendition of the fight song, as they did for us so many times after their victories. But this season is over, and for now, on to next year for the Red Wolves. A great season guys, I enjoyed it and look forward to next year.