Auburn Mountainview football on cruise control in 40-6 win over Kentridge

The Lions fell last season to the Chargers 14-0 in 2022, but start hot this season.

Auburn Mountainview comes out firing on all cylinders as they take down Kentridge 40-6 in the opening game of the season.

The Lions got off to a hot start for their 2023 campaign in a boisterous win at Auburn Memorial stadium on Sept. 2. “We prepared very well, my coaching staff is awesome. One thing is our kids are always ready to play, they know what they’re supposed to do and they try to execute it,” said Head Coach Kent Rodseth.

Last season the Lions finished second in the 3A NPSL league, made the playoffs but lost to Kennewick 9-7.

This year the offense will put up points. Elijah Baird totaled five touchdowns in the first game of the season. He scored two with his legs and three with his arm, a complete performance from the junior. “Our quarterback makes a huge difference. Having him around some of the skill guys (gets us prepared),” Rodseth said.

And the defense will continue to not give up points, “I feel like we should be the number one defense in the league. When everybody does their job, we should be the number one defense in the league,” Isiah Wallis-Caw said.

Senior Isiah Wallis-Caw celebrates going into the end one against Kentridge. Photo Credit : Bob Sheldon

Senior Isiah Wallis-Caw celebrates going into the end one against Kentridge. Photo Credit : Bob Sheldon

To open the game the Lions finished an eight play drive with a touchdown pass to Isiah Wallis-Caw. The drive could have stalled midway through but Baird converted a fourth and one to keep the drive alive. Wallis-Caw had to work for the 10 yard touchdown score on a screen pass from Baird. “I think it’s (their connection) good. It’s getting better and better and he’s (Baird) just more and more reliant and steady with him (Wallis-Caw),” Rodseth said.

With under 12 seconds left in the quarter, the Lion defensive line forced a fumble recovered by Jordan Koval. To close out the Lions scoring in the first quarter with seven seconds left, Baird found IWC for another touchdown. This one on a 20 yard seam route down the middle of the field. “We hit the field a lot, we hit the field whenever we can with each other whenever we can to get the chemistry up,“ Wallis-Caw said.

After a 39 yard pitch and catch to Jalen Hicks the Lions found themselves in the red zone for the third time in the game. The Lions were denied points as a forced fumble gave the Chargers the ball back.

That was all the offense in the first half for the Lions. The Auburn Mountainview defense kept life difficult for the Chargers, as they were pitching a shutout leading 14-0.

In the second half after a three and out from the Chargers the Lions got on the scoreboard first in the third. They put the finishing touches on their first drive of the half with an Elijah Baird four yard run capping off a seven play drive. “I feel like when everybody does their job we can be a top five team in the league,” said Wallis-Caw.

Lion senior Ekampret Dhoat got his first interception of the season on the next Kentridge drive and returned it 42 yards to the Charger 48. On the next play Baird ran a quarterback keeper the distance but got called back due to an incidental whistle. But on the immediate next play the celebration kept on as he found John Wanlenvo streaking down the sidelines for a touchdown. With under five minutes to go the Lions lead 28-0.

Running the ball with Baird and junior Davion Munson seemed to work effectively for the Lions as well as looking to air the ball out. A big part of that success was the offensive line, but coach Rodseth isn’t satisfied with just the win, he’s always looking for ways to improve. “They really, really pass blocked well. Run blocking, we got some work to do, because it’s a longer drive… we’re playing against other guys number ones. So they got guys that can run and hit, and we gotta get that part of things fixed,” Rodseth said.

Elijah Baird on his way to the endzone for one of two running touchdowns. Photo Credit: Bob Sheldon

Elijah Baird on his way to the endzone for one of two running touchdowns. Photo Credit: Bob Sheldon

Two minutes later, the Lions got the ball back. Auburn Mountainview was led once more by Baird on his final drive of the game. He totaled his fifth touchdown of the day with a 29 yard sprint to the end zone. “He’s one of the top 10 quarterbacks in the state. He’s 6’3” 200 pounds, he can run. He missed some things which happens in the first game, he’s just gonna get better and better,” Rodseth said.

The final score of the game came after Kentridge got a touchdown of their own. Freshman Elijah Carney returned the kickoff 65 yards and with 4:48 left in the game, the Lions had the final score of the ball game.

“It’s a 40-6 win, we’ll take it,” Rodseth said.

For a defense that pitched two shutouts last season and the year prior held three opponents to under 10 points, they’re right where they want to be this season. “I thought we played really well. I thought we played really hard, especially near the goal line. We turned the ball over there a couple times to keep them out of the end zone,” Rodseth said.

The Auburn Mountainview train keeps on rollin, as they take on Bainbridge Island on the road Sept. 8