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The latest news and analysis on high-school sports around the Seattle area

August 29, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Mount Si: Is this the year the Wildcats make a playoff run?

If KingCo had a bunch of longtime coaches, then what’s going on at Mount Si this year wouldn’t be much of a surprise. Therein lies the problem, though: There aren’t many coaches who have been around as long as Mount Si’s Charlie Kinnune.

And because of that there aren’t many coaches used to Mount Si spreading out its offense.

For years Mount Si played a style that Kinnune described as the “Wisconsin look.” In other words, the Wildcats relied on big, beefy offensive lines and a power running game. This year the Wildcats will accommodate a bounty of skill players by returning to their spread roots.

“We’ve got to dust off the playbook a little bit,” said Kinnune, who is in his 21st year.

The Wildcats will do so with a team the KingCo 3A coaches picked to finish second behind Bellevue. Mount Si returns a deep group with playmakers back all across the board. There’s Griffin McLain, the skilled tight end. There’s Jimbo Davis, the wide receiver-defensive back speedster. There’s Tyler Button, who caught eight touchdowns last year. And there’s Hunter Malberg, a safety-receiver who should anchor the back of the defense.

“Our offense, at times, was a bit anemic,” Kinnune said. “We had some trouble scoring touchdowns; we kicked a lot of field goals. We played defense with our offense. We tried to control the ball. We tried to slow down our opponent.

“This year, we think we’re going to have a bit more of an explosive offense that can score a little quicker and maybe put people on their heels.”

Mount Si will look to do that with its spread offense, which will be directed by first-year junior quarterback Nick Mitchell. Mitchell, who goes by the nickname Bird Dog because of his intensity, gained 25 pounds and comes from good stock: He has two brothers who played college football.

“He’s a first-year starter, and we always have to remember that,” Kinnune said. “We need to get him in high-percentage situations.”

Last year Mount Si leaned heavily on star kicker Cameron Van Winkle, a UW commit. This year, despite Van Winkle making 18 of 21 field goals last season, Kinnune is banking on not needing his kicker quite as much.

“He has ice cubes in his veins,” Kinnune said. “He’s very calm, very cool. Chances are, he’s not going to have 21 chances this year. We have a total different offense. Last year we played for field goals. This year we’re playing for touchdowns.”

The end result could be a deeper playoff run for Mount Si after four straight years of first-round exits.

Players to watch:

TE/ DE Griffin McLain, 6-4, 245

WR/ DB Tyler Button, 5-6, 140

WR Trent Riley, 6-2, 190

QB Nick Mitchell, 6-2, 175

RB/ LB Joey Cotto, 5-7, 155

WR/S Hunter Malberg, 6-1, 190

RB Riley Reed, 6-0, 200

Game to watch:

Bellevue on Oct. 12. Bellevue is picked to finish first in KingCo 3A. Mount Si is picked second.

Question:

Can the Wildcats’ offensive line, with five new starters, come together and hold their own?

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