Update, 10/13/2012, 8:40AM: Top 10 Nationally Ranked Bellevue Wolverines defeated Mount Si 49-10 last night. All Bellevue points came in the first half. Ben’s prediction was correct, with only the score being slightly off.
When the top two teams in any league play, it is always a huge game, and a rare occurrence. On Friday though, we will get to see the two best 3A high school teams in the state go at it. #2 Mount Si (6-0) will host #1 Bellevue (6-0) here in Snoqualmie, and the excitement has already begun for the Wildcat’s biggest game in school history.
Bellevue High School comes in with national prominence. On top of being the #1 team in the state of Washington, they also are ranked #5 in the whole country by the Max Preps. Mount Si is not nationally ranked, but still comes in as the #2 team in the state.
What to know about Mount Si
Mount Si is currently having their best football season in school history, and have never been ranked as high as they are now. They are a team led by experienced seniors and win their games on the defensive side of the ball. The linebacker core is led by senior Hank Van Liew and juniors Evan Johnson and Beau Shain, and the Wildcat’s potent secondary features seniors Trent Riley, Jimbo Davis, and Hunter Malberg. The defense has allowed just 14 points in the team’s six games. Four of the games have been shutouts. They are fresh off a 51-0 win over Lake Washington last Friday.
The offense is led by junior quarterback Nick Mitchell, who has passed for 766 yards, 8 touchdowns, with only 1 interception this season (stats are through first five games of season. Stats from last week’s game vs. Lake Washington are not yet available). Mitchell’s had a great season so far, with the only problem being his troubling completion percentage (45%). Mitchell has taken advantage of a lethal group of receivers, who flaunt Trent Riley as the top target. Riley missed his junior year with a serious knee injury, but has come back with exceptional play so far as the team’s top target.
And finally, Mount Si senior kicker Cameron Van Winkle is ranked as the #7 kicker in the nation by Rivals.com, and has committed to kick for University of Washington next year. Last week vs. Lake Washington, Van Winkle set the Washington State High School record for career field goals made by any kicker in state history. He kicked for the USA National Football team last summer.
What to know about Bellevue
The Bellevue Wolverines have had a long tradition of football dominance, and are not new to spotlight games like this one. The Wolverines have won the 3A State Football title nine times since 2001, including the last four years. They have sent many players to play college football at big time programs as far and prominent as University of Michigan, and are the high school of former Washington Huskies E.J. Savannah and J.R. Hasty. The Pittsburgh Steeler’s 2012 first round pick David DeCastro out of Stanford is a Bellevue High School alumni.
The football program gained national attention in 2003 after beating De La Salle High School from Concord, California. De La Salle was riding a national record-setting 13-year, 151 game winning streak, but Bellevue won 39-20. They are known for using the Wing-T offense, which died off for most programs after World War II. They run the ball all over their opponents, and hardly ever pass. They are a regular in the national top 25 high school football teams each year and are currently #5.
This season is nothing new for Bellevue, and they are the favorite for the state title once again. They have a very strong defense as well, and have only allowed 38 points in their six games. However 24 of those points were given up to powerhouse Trinity High School from Euless, Texas in week one. Bellevue’s last game was against Interlake High School, which the Wolverine’s won 70-7.
The defense is dominant like Mount Si, and senior linebackers Myles Jack (committed to UCLA) and Sean Constantine (committed to Washington) lead the Wolverines defense that has shut down all in-state opponents they have played. They play with a lot of speed, and get to the ball very quickly. And on offense, it is all running for the Wolverines. Myles Jack and junior Budda Baker are very fast and can avoid tackles all over. Baker will be one of the top prospects in the country next season, and even as a junior, already has offers from Notre Dame, Arizona, UCLA, Purdue, Washington, and Washington State among others.
Mount Si will be playing by far the best team they’ve faced this season. They lucked out with a “cupcake” schedule this year as they have only faced one team that is above .500. Don’t get me wrong, they are a very good team. But even though just one spot separates these two schools in the rankings, Bellevue is head and shoulders above Mount Si.
The Wildcat’s defense will slow down Bellevue’s rushing attack, but won’t be able to for the whole game. Bellevue’s defense will be unlike anything the Wildcats have seen this year. The play of junior QB Nick Mitchell will be a big factor if Mount Si can stay competitive. His lack of experience vs. this kind of talent really could hurt his play. He will need to be smart with his passes, avoid incompletions and keep the ball moving.
In the end, Mount Si’s defense should keep Bellevue to a season-low in points, but they won’t be able to move the ball on this Bellevue defense. They will be overmatched, and for every star Mount Si has on the field, Bellevue will have two of their own. Mount Si should be able to get Van Winkle into field goal range a couple of times, but not much else.
Final Score: Bellevue 28 Mount Si 6
Ben Evensen is a high school junior here in the Snoqualmie Valley. He hopes to be a sports writer in the future and currently writes his own sports blog – www.evensensportsanalysis.blogspot.com. We’re excited to have Ben as a contributing sports writer at Living Snoqualmie. Look for more articles in the coming weeks.