- About Us
Auburn Riverside, Kentwood collide for SPSL North 4A title | Prep football
The idea that the Auburn Riverside football team would be in contention for a South Puget Sound League North 4A title after finishing its 2012 season 1-9 may be hard for some to wrap their minds around.
But not for the team's first-year coaching staff.
"It's not surprising to our staff, just to everybody else," head coach Bryant Thomas said. "One of the reasons we took this job is we saw the talent that was there. We knew there was a good group of kids here."
This week the Auburn Riverside football team looks to shake off its first loss of the season, a 49-22 nonleague defeat this past Friday at the hands of Curtis, and prepare for Kentwood in a game that will decide the league champ.
"What we've got planned right now is just focusing on us," Thomas said. "Part of our problem last week (against Curtis) was we focused more on what they did instead of what we do. Now we're focusing on what we do and getting better at the things that we weren't as solid at last week. With that emphasis on us, it's going to make us better when we play (Kentwood)."
Against Curtis, (5-1 SPSL South 4A, 6-1 overall) the Ravens (6-0 league, 6-1 overall) couldn't overcome the Vikings 28-22 first-half lead.
Curtis scored 21 points in the second half while blanking the Ravens in the final 24 minutes of the game.
Auburn Riverside drew first blood in the contest as quarterback Kevin Thomson connected with Drew Wallen for a 52-yard touchdown with just 1 minute, 12 seconds elapsed on the clock.
Curtis responded with an 11-play, 80-yard drive, capped by Donnell Diego's 1-yard TD run.
The Ravens closed out the first quarter with a 13-play, 73-yard TD drive that saw Thomson score from a yard out with 1:15 left in the frame.
After a pair of touchdowns by the Vikings – a 32-yard TD strike from Scott Wismer to Hasani Childs, and a 38-yard run by Childs – Auburn Riverside scored its final TD of the game when Thomson found Wallen from 42 yards out.
Curtis would score four more times in the contest, Carter McKay and Wismer hooking up for TD receptions of 42 and 25 yards, and Childs scoring twice on the ground, from 6 and 18 yards.
The Vikings bottled up the Raven running game in the contest, holding the team to just 57 yards rushing.
In the air, Thomson was 10-of-29 for 210 yards, with a pair of TDs and two interceptions.
Wallen finished with seven receptions for 155 yards and two touchdowns.
For Curtis, Childs finished with 103 yards on 10 carries with three TDs. Diego chipped in with 86 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown.
Wismer was 16-of-19 for 321 yards and three touchdowns.
McKay added seven receptions for 175 yards and a pair of TD catches.
"Basically, Curtis' coaches put together a great scheme, offensively and defensively, that we had a hard time handling," Thomas said. "They outplayed us up front."
Initially, Thomas said, his players took their first loss of the season hard.
"But they also understood that it's just one game and you move on," he said. "And that's way they took it and the way the coaching staff took it. We move on, we've got bigger fish to fry. We've got a league championship this week and that became our focus immediately after that game."
This Friday, the Ravens will look for a win against Kentwood (5-1, 5-2) for the league title. They'll have their hands full with a Conqueror team that is looking to rebound from two straight losses.
"They've got a real good running game and one of the top receivers in the league in Terrance Grady," Thomas said. "It just makes it tough, but we'll be ready for them."
"People are going to think I'm crazy when I say this, but our expectations were always to win the league championship," Thomas said. "And to be able to do it, we're fortunate to have that opportunity. And like I told the kids, opportunity only knocks once. There is only one time you can be 7-0. Now that is passed. Now we have the chance to be league champs. Let's take advantage of it."