Auburn Riverside players and fans revel in the win against Kentridge on Friday night. MARK KLAAS, Auburn Reporter

Auburn Riverside players and fans revel in the win against Kentridge on Friday night. MARK KLAAS, Auburn Reporter

Ravens defuse Chargers in Valley play, 55-14

Auburn Riverside’s ground attack scores 7 touchdowns in rout at home

Thaddeus Umi-Tuato’o was just as surprised as anyone when the football quickly bounced his way.

Kentridge, looking to cut into a three-touchdown deficit, opened the second half with a onside kick that Umi-Tuato’o instinctively reacted with his quick hands and feet. Auburn Riverside’s 5-foot-7, 150-pound sophomore – one of the smallest players on the team – played big by scooping up the ball and returning it 54 yards for a breakaway touchdown.

The play ignited a 28-point third quarter, enabling the Ravens to knock out the Chargers 55-14 in a bruising North Puget Sound League Valley Division game at Auburn Memorial Stadium on Friday night.

Given the opportunity, Umi-Tuato’o responded.

“I didn’t see that coming,” he said of the onside kick. “Matter of fact, I was going to go (run) deep, but once I saw it I decided to just take it and go.”

Kentridge was able to pull within 28-7 early in the third quarter before the Ravens pulled away behind a punishing ground game.

The Ravens picked up a vital Valley win, improving to 1-1 in the division race, a game back of Federal Way, and 5-1 overall. The Chargers dropped to 2-1 and 3-3.

Arthur Tauiliili ran for three touchdowns, Javon Forward rushed for 137 yards and two TDs and wideouts Umi-Tuato’o and Andrew Butler each swept in for six as Auburn Riverside’s spread attack covered 342 of its 358 yards of offense on the ground.

Umi-Tuato’o, who also played safety, wound up with a team-leading seven tackles.

The Ravens came ready to pick up their first NPSL win in the two seasons of the league’s three-tiered division alignment.

“Our kids had a hunger in them,” said Ravens coach Marcus Yzaguirre. “We haven’t had a league win in two years. … I just told them to go out and get it.”

A Forward interception immediately set up the Ravens’ first score – Tauiliili’s 14-yard blast up the middle at 8:49.

Kentridge came up short on fourth down plays in its next two possessions, and Auburn Riverside cashed in. Out of a rare wishbone look in the backfield, Forward plowed in from the 5 for a score, and Umi-Tuato’o took an inside-handoff jet sweep 12 yards for a TD and a 21-0 lead with 3:15 left in the half.

The Chargers – buoyed by quarterback Chance Guadiz’ 46-yard completion to Michael Faber – drove to the Ravens’ 6. But on fourth-and-goal, Cade Foster sacked Guadiz for a 10-yard loss with 4:33 left in the half.

Kentridge was undone by untimely penalties, third- and fourth-down conversion woes and four turnovers. What might have been a tighter game by halftime eventually got out of reach.

“They really did take it to us. They made some plays that caused us to make mistakes,” said Kentridge coach Brett Ogata. “It could have been a different game, but we didn’t play up to where I’m used to seeing our guys play. At the same time … they made us that way.

“We have to take this game and learn from this because they came out and smacked us in the mouth a little bit,” Ogata said. “We didn’t know how to respond to that. … We have to learn how to respond to this.”

The Ravens held the Chargers to 240 yards in offense, 67 of which came from the run. Auburn Riverside made the Chargers’ Payton Thomas, a ground-churning tailback, a priority.

“He was for sure a tough guy to (bring) down,” Foster said of Thomas. “Our game plan was to gang tackle. … You can’t let them run through arm tackles.”

Yzaguirre added: “Our kids were just locked in. We knew coming in (Thomas) was going to be good. He’s going to make a couple of big plays. We had to contain him.”

Early in the third quarter, with his team down 28-0, Thomas found the end zone from 1 yard out. But the Ravens went on a spree, adding Forward’s 33-yard TD run and Tauiliili’s scoring runs from 1 and 9 yards out.

In the fourth quarter, Butler, a sophomore, raced 51 yards for a touchdown.

Kentridge’s second TD came on George Strunk’s 20-yard pass to Paul Lam with 2:16 left to play.

Auburn Riverside plays winless Kentlake in division play at 7 p.m. Thursday at French Field. Kentridge (1-5) is at Auburn next Friday in an interdivisional game. Kickoff is 7 p.m.

More in Sports

The Thunderbirds’ Peyton Mount flips the puck past Winterhaws goalie Isaiah DiLaura in the shootout Saturday. COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse, T-Birds
Thunderbirds overcome Winterhawks in shootout

Mount delivers a goal and two assists in 5-4 win

The Vikings’ Christian Rotter. COURTESY PHOTO, WWU Athletics
Playoff-bound Western closes out regular season with 4-0 victory over Concordia

Rotter scores a goal, adds an assist while making his 70th career start to set a program record

Ravens outlast Hornets, pull out dramatic win in overtime

Auburn Riverside advances to play Olympia in the quarterfinals Saturday

Lions, Ravens fall in district playoffs

Freshman quarterback Kayde Bodine threw three touchdown passes, two to Cooper White,… Continue reading

Auburn Riverside, Auburn Mountainview girls finish strong in 4A district waters

Auburn Riverside and Auburn Mountainview athletes shone at the recent 4A West… Continue reading

Auburn Riverside silences Union, punches ticket to state | Girls prep soccer

Ravens earn district’s top seed to 4A tournament, face Hornets in rubber match Wednesday

Ravens’ Muneton takes sixth; Auburn Mountain boys finish 14th

Auburn Riverside’s Jasmin Muneton finished sixth at the 4A state girls cross… Continue reading

The Thunderbirds’ Owen Williams pushes the puck up the ice as the Silvertips’ Cole Fonstad tumbles during WHL play Saturday. COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse, T-Birds
Thunderbirds fall to Silvertips on Military Appreciation Night

Return home to face Winterhawks this Saturday

JOEtv to broadcast eight Thunderbird games

The Seattle Thunderbirds have partnered with JOEtv (KZJO) to broadcast eight games… Continue reading

The Thunderbirds’ Roddy Ross. COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse, T-Birds
Thunderbirds overpower Hitmen at the Saddledome

Ross makes 33 saves in 2-1 win over Calgary

Lions challenge Titans but come up short; focus turns to playoffs

Auburn Mountainview to make sixth straight postseason appearance

Ravens roll to win; Trojans tumble to Gators

Forward breaks the 1,000-yard rushing barrier, scores three touchdowns