Player Profile: Kyler Gordon

Senior Kyler Gordon received his very first D1 college offer last summer after only 2 seasons of high school ball. Now, he’s accumulated a total of 11, including offers from Notre Dame, Stanford, and University of Washington. Oh, and all of them are full ride.

Gordon didn’t start playing football until he was 10, when his friend’s family introduced him to the sport. Since then, he’s played “every position”, including running back, wide receiver, quarter back, and defensive back while in high school. “Colleges want me to play corner back,” he said.

Over 4 years as a member of the Archbishop Murphy varsity football team, Gordon has accumulated 715 rushing yards, 1,610 receiving yards, 4 defensive touchdowns, 9 rushing touchdowns, and 18 receiving touchdowns. According to ESPN, he’s the 3rd top recruit in Washington, and is 29th corner back recruit in the nation.

Gordon’s biggest inspirations to become a better athlete are his dad and cousin.

His favorite Murphy traditions include going to mass before each game together in the Chapel, and praying the Hail Mary on the field.

“My goal for myself is 14 interceptions and for the team I want a repeat of the state championship,” he said. So far he has 2 interceptions this season, and hasn’t even played in the last 3 games. In terms of taking the state title again, the Wildcats have 2 more regular season games before diving into districts.

The Wildcat football team returns home for Senior Night against the Cedarcrest Red Wolves on October 27th.

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Consistency: AMHS Football Check-In

The Archbishop Murphy football team is currently 5-1 overall and undefeated in conference as we inch towards the end of the 2017 regular season. This year’s story is so far one of moderate consistency–both good and bad.

Senior running back Ray Pimentel has been the Wildcat’s shining example of positive  consistency this season. In Friday’s game against the Granite Falls Tigers, Pimentel had 21 carries, 10 first downs, and 3 touchdowns, consistent numbers when compared to his stats from the last 5 games. He’s currently leading the league with 965 rushing yards; he averages 9 yards per carry and 96.5 per game.  Pimentel has 15 recorded touchdowns.

Another consistent player for the Wildcats this season has been the rookie kicker, senior Omar Rodas. He has currently kicked an astounding 1,324 kickoff yards, made 29 out of 34 PAT attempts, and has completed 2 field goals, including a 51 yard one in the 3rd quarter during the match up against the Tigers.

However, numerous penalty calls per game have been plaguing the Wildcats since the start of the season. Against Granite Falls, the team had 8 penalties called against them, mostly holding and false start calls. That’s on top of the near 20 other penalties called in the last 3 games. Hopefully coaches can help resolve the holding issues as the post season creeps ever nearer.

Injuries have also been a negative consistency this season for Archbishop Murphy. Star players Kyler Gordon and Ben Hines were both out this Friday against Granite Falls with injuries. Senior Emmanuel Oshuoa is out for the season after having ACL surgery this summer. Other minor injuries have affected other players, leaving them out for a game or two. Healthy players are the key to success, and the Wildcats won’t be playing at their best level until all their members are healthy.

None of this is to say that the Archbishop Murphy boys can’t handle what’s coming at them as we look into the rest of the season. Part of playing a sport, especially a team one, is that you’re always improving and working together to better yourself and the team. Of course, the Wildcats are also lucky enough to have a phenomenal coaching staff.

Next Friday (10/13), the Wildcats will take on Cedar Park Christian in their first away game of the season at Juanita High School.

 

Player Profile: Victor Gabalis

Sophomore Victor Gabalis began playing quarterback in 8th grade because he had the chance to start and wanted to “take the opportunity”. 2 years later, he’s QB1 for Archbishop Murphy’s varsity team and is currently leading the league with *384 passing yards.

In somewhat a turn of events, Gabalis ended up at AMHS after playing for the Cedarcrest Jr football team in Duvall since he was 10. “I chose Murphy because I wanted to be at a Catholic school that would provide good education for college,” Gabalis said. Cedarcrest is also a member of the Cascade Conference like AMHS.

Gabalis’ pre-game ritual includes the team dinner, of course, and listening to “Carry On” by Kid Ink. “My favorite team dinner is spaghetti,” he shared.

During the game, Gabalis is all business. So far this season he’s had 22 completions, 4 passing touchdowns, and only 2 interceptions, a stat he’s made a goal out of not having change. He averages 17.5 yards per completion and 96.0 yards per game.

Gabalis hopes starting this season will help him get early looks for college football and that he’ll be able to carry his team to a state title, just like last year’s quarterback, Connor Johnson, who also wore the number 11, did.

Victor Gabalis will lead the Wildcat offense tonight (Friday 9/29) in Archbishop Murphy’s homecoming game against Sultan High School. Come to the game and see his talent for yourself!

*all stats are according to maxpreps.com

Player Profile: Matt Welter

Senior tennis superstar Matt Welter starts his warm ups before each match by listening to “I Am A God” by Kanye West. Although it may seem silly, obviously it works. Matt’s record so far this season is 3-2, and his 2 losses have been against the best players in the league.

When he’s on the court however, his record doesn’t matter to him. “I’m always analyzing the previous play and my opponent so I can make my next shot be a winner,” Matt said.  To him, “it’s all about strategy.”

During this past off season, Matt prepared by playing year round for the Mill Tennis Club at the champs level. He also played in USTA champs tournaments, where he competed against some of the best players in the state and even some from across the country. ‘

As a singles player, Matt enjoys the fact that he “has no one to blame or praise except for [himself].” This season, he hopes to take 1st or 2nd in districts and qualify for state. If he makes it to state, he wants to be “very competitive and finish in the top 4.”

Matt Welter and the rest of the Wildcat tennis team take on South Whidbey today (Thursday, 9/28), so wish them luck!

Player Profile: Gabi Koch

In a district game against Liberty High School during the 2016 season, Wildcat’s assistant soccer coach Mike Boswell turned to Gabi Koch and said two words: hammer down. “I knew exactly what he meant,” Koch remembered, “That’s my absolute favorite soccer memory hands down.”

This season, Koch, a junior, is a captain hoping to get her team back to the same place they were at when last season concluded by leading through example. “This season I want to help my teammates on and off the field so that we can get right back to the final four of the state tournament,” Koch said.

Koch started playing soccer when she was only 5 years old, but it didn’t become her main sport until she was 8. Now, along with playing for the Archbishop Murphy varsity team, she plays for the Greater Seattle Surf team in her age division. For both teams, she plays center attacking midfielder her “absolute favorite position.”

Koch’s motivation for continuing to better her game is truly inspiring. “My biggest motivator would be my close family friend Jake Eastwood,” answered Koch. At age 13, Jake was forced to have one of his legs amputated due to an osteosarcoma. “He’s still one of the most athletic and uplifting people I know,” Koch added, “Knowing him and his story will always inspire me.”

Watch Gabi Koch take the field with the Wildcats at home this season at Terry Ennis Stadium.

Player Profile: Caroline Kowalchuk

Senior Caroline Kowalchuk has felt at home in the water since the 3rd grade, when she started swimming competitively for West Coast Aquatics. Now, she’s in her 4th year as a member of the AMHS girls swim team and her second year as captain.

Part of being a captain means putting the team’s needs before your own, and Kowalchuk is a great example of this idea. Her goal for this season is “that everyone swims their best times and comes out of the season feeling stronger and more accomplished than at the beginning of the season.”

A beast in the pool, Kowalchuk “swim[s] all the events at meets.” At state however, she says the plan is for her to swim the 200 meter freestyle along with either the 100m free (her favorite event) or the 500m free.

Last year at state, Kowalchuk placed 6th in the 500m free and 7th in the 200m free, setting a school record in the 200 with a time of 2:01.81.

When it comes to college, Kowalchuk would like to swim, but says it depends on where she goes. “Academics are my first priority, and if swimming helps, then I’ll continue to swim,” she added.

Catch Caroline Kowalchuk in the pool this season by checking out the season schedule and heading out to a meet!

AMHS vs Blanchet

Students decked head to toe in white continue to file into the stands as senior captains Ben Hines, Kyler Gordon, and Martin Napeahi walk to center field for the coin toss. They are accompanied by Roman Miller, the namesake of Archbishop Murphy’s baseball field and longest serving member of the board of trustees. He serves as an honorary captain as the Wildcat’s take on the Bishop Blanchet Braves for their second game of the season.

Winning the toss and deferring to the second half, the Archbishop Murphy captains head into the locker room to finish preparing for the game. The band continues to play tune after tune as parents and siblings find their seats. After a week full of extreme temperatures and bad air quality, the overcast weather is a welcome return to normal.

Once the team has returned to the field, prayer has been said and the anthem has been played, Friday Night Lights can finally begin.

Senior kicker Omar Rodas boots the ball to the 5 yard line–but the Braves kickoff team gains ground quickly, returning the ball all the way to the Wildcat 40 yard line. After no gain on first down and a fumble on second, they complete a 12 yard pass and convert on 3rd. They fail to gain any yards on the next four downs, and are forced to hand the ball over to the Wildcats.

Ray Pimentel starts the Wildcat’s 1st offensive series off strong with an 8 yard run; Ben Hines rumbles 11 yards through the Braves defense on 2nd down. Senior Kyler Gordon takes the ball next and moves the ball 31 yards closer to the endzone. There are two more plays with a gain of 3 yards each before Hines punches in a 13 yard touchdown. Archbishop Murphy is the first on the board. 6-0.

The Braves offense goes 3 and out on their next series, and so do the Wildcats. And then the Braves go 3 and out again.

Archbishop Murphy, however, does not. A beautiful run by Pimentel sets up Gordon for a 48 yard touchdown, and Rodas easily sinks the PAT 13-0.

Blanchet’s next series goes similarly to their last two–3 unsuccessful plays leads to the punt team taking the field. But a high snap keeps the ball on the Brave’s side and turns the ball over to the Wildcats.

A holding penalty pushes Archbishop Murphy back 10 yards on first, but QB Victor Gabalis and senior Rweha Munyagi make up for it easily with a 25 yard passing touchdown. 13-0.

The Braves are saved on 3rd down by a pass interference call after a loss of four on 1st and an incomplete pass on 2nd. The next set of downs they convert on 4th with a 7 yard pass, but their temporary luck runs out as a short gain on 1st down is followed by 3 incomplete passes.

Archbishop Murphy’s offense starts out at their own 19 and stay there after Gabalis’ pass on 1st down to Gordon is caught out of bounds. Pimentel gains 10 easily on the next play, and then another 16 a play later. After a quick 51 yard gain by Gordon, Pimentel takes the ball again and rushes 9 yards for a touchdown. Rodas sinks another PAT. 27-0.

Gordon intercepts the ball on the Brave’s first play, but a series of unfortunate events on the Wildcat offense sends the ball right back to Blanchet. The Brave’s have a rough start to their series, but convert on 4th down with a 30 yard pass. Two plays later, they manage to squeeze past the Wildcat defense and score. 27-7.

Attempting to catch up to Archbishop Murphy, Blanchet kicks onside. They can’t get to it fast enough however; senior Jeric Williams catches it off of a bounce and starts running. “I felt like I could’ve scored, but I just felt so slow,” Williams said post-game. He didn’t get the touchdown, but he set up Pimentel for a 10 yard one on the Cat’s first down. 34-7.

The Brave’s go 3 and out on their next, and final, series for the half.

The Wildcats had 6 more plays in the half, during which Pimentel ran for 20 yards and Gordon was involved in two questionable non-calls. Gabalis took a knee on the last play to end the half.

During halftime Head Coach Jerry Jensen said the coaches talked to the younger players, especially those involved in the kickoff, about going hard all game. “They were coming off their first win last week and just weren’t working as hard as they should’ve been.”

Pimentel manages to gain some ground on the Brave’s kickoff, returning the ball 29 yards to the Blanchet 49.  Hines then runs yards 33 yards downfield, and after 3 more short gains, he finishes the drive with a 1 yard touchdown. 40-7.

Blanchet’s next drive is short lived–junior Dillon Singh-Halpin intercepts a pass and takes it to the house for a pick 6 on 3rd down. 47-7.

Sophomore Zach Sievers takes over for Rodas and comes in for the next kickoff, sending the ball to the Blanchet 35. The Brave’s go 3 and out, but punt the ball all the way to the Wildcat 1 yard line.

The Wildcats try to gain some short, quick yards on their first 2 downs, but are unsuccessful. On 3rd, Gabalis launches a 19 yard pass to Gordon, who then takes it to the end zone, making it a 99 yard touchdown. 54-7.

Sievers kicks off and the Braves manage one play before the clock runs out for the third quarter. The Brave’s start the 4th quarter with an incomplete pass and then a fumble after a 10 yard gain that they recover. They run the ball another 8 yards before their 2nd and 3rd downs fail to move them downfield at all. Freshman Josh McCarron ends their hopes of a 4th down conversion with a QB sack.

Archbishop Murphy’s next drive sees freshman Nick Rodabaugh, among other underclassmen, in to play. They make 1 first down, but fumble two plays later. The Brave’s recover.

Blanchet’s final drive seems to last forever as the clock runs down and they call timeout after timeout. They don’t make any progress throughout the drive.

Finally, the clock runs out. 54-7.

Despite the big win, Coach Jensen still told the boys in the huddle “We’ve got to get better.” When talked to  after the game, he echoed the same thought, saying that the team needs to be cleaner.

Pimentel seemed to think the same. “We definitely need to work on kickoff,” he said, “No matter what they put out there we need to get downfield and be ready.” He also thinks the team needs to focus on keeping zones while on defense, especially in preparation for the big game this week.

That big game will be the Wildcat’s taking on King’s High School this Friday at 7pm at Terry Ennis Stadium.