Diminutive Elliot-Free looks to help Auburn Mountainview into playoff spot | HS Football

He says he might like to teach and coach someday. If he does, Darius Elliott-Free says he’d have no problem plucking a kid out of the school hallway to play for the team, even if the kid was only, say, 5 1/2 feet tall and barely tipped the scale at 150 pounds.

He says he might like to teach and coach someday.

If he does, Darius Elliott-Free says he’d have no problem plucking a kid out of the school hallway to play for the team, even if the kid was only, say, 5 1/2 feet tall and barely tipped the scale at 150 pounds.

“If he looked like a football-type guy, I would,” he said.

Of course he would.

After all, Elliott-Free is only 5 1/2 feet tall, and tips the scale at 155. But make no mistake: He’s a football-type guy. Didn’t have to be found in the hallway, either – he has been playing since the fifth grade.

Last year as a junior, Elliott-Free was a solid enough football-type guy for Auburn Mountainview High to earn All-South Puget Sound League 3A honors three different ways: on offense (second-team wide receiver), on defense (honorable mention defensive back) and on special teams (co-Kick Returner of the Year).

“I don’t really have a favorite position,” Elliott-Free said. “I love my role on the team.”

That’s the kind of player every coach likes. And heading into his senior season, Elliott-Free is the kind of player Lions coach Mike Clancy is counting on to help Auburn Mountainview continue making forward progress, as the fourth-year program takes aim at its first playoff spot.

“He has a lot of God-given ability. But he has really put in a lot of time and effort helping himself improve, really working at getting himself in position to do some good things on the field,” Clancy said. “And he’s really good about blocking out things like, ‘You’re too small.’

“He really just goes out and does his thing.”

Last fall, Elliott-Free’s thing included catching 22 passes for 271 yards and a touchdown, rushing 21 times for 84 yards and another TD, and returning kickoffs a total of 537 yards.

This season, he’ll be back at receiver, but instead playing at defensive back, will switch to free safety.

“I love playing that position,” Elliott-Free said. “I can get in on a lot of tackles, and I’m pretty free to roam.”

“(Free safety) for us is a unique position,” Clancy said. “He’ll run sideline to sideline as a run stopper, and be in position to make plays against the pass. We’re asking a lot of him defensively.”

Though one might not think so at first glance, Elliott-Free’s size actually comes in handy, particularly on that side of the ball.

“I’m already lower than the ball carrier, so it works to my advantage,” Elliott-Free said with a grin. “And on offense, I’m quicker than the others – my teammates get mad at me because I’m so quick, they can’t tackle me.”

The average football fan might not talk much about kick returners. But Clancy loves to talk about what a guy such as Elliott-Free can do in that regard.

“He really can make things exciting. He’ll reverse field completely and make things happen,” Clancy said.

Better and better

Elliott-Free and the Lions would like to make a few more things happen on the field as they continue what has been a steady climb toward competitiveness and respectability. After winning one game in its inaugural season of 2005, then notching three victories the following season, Auburn Mountainview put its first .500 mark into the books last fall at 5-5, although it was just 2-5 in league play.

This year, it’s a new-look league, too. District rivals Auburn and Auburn Riverside returned to the Class 4A level and rejoined the SPSL North Division. Mountainview remains in SPSL 3A, along with familiar foes Enumclaw, Bonney Lake, Sumner, Franklin Pierce and White River.

Three newcomers also are coming aboard: Clover Park, Peninsula and perennial power Lakes. Last year, Franklin Pierce advanced all the way to the state semifinals before falling to eventual champion Skyline, and Lakes lost to Skyline in the first round.

The Lions open the season on Sept. 5 at home against Clover Park.

“We’re really confident to make the playoffs,” Elliott-Free said. “We have a very good chance. It will be difficult because we’ve never played against some of these teams before. Lakes is a very good program, and Franklin Pierce (which graduated several of last year’s stars) will still be a good program.”

The schedule won’t include district rivals Auburn and Auburn Riverside, however.

“I’m kind of upset we don’t get them at least as a nonleague game,” Elliott-Free said. “I kind of wanted to play them again for my last year.”

Regardless of opponent, Elliott-Free will see plenty of action. Versatile as he is, it’s just plain hard to keep him out of the action.

“I like playing everything,” he said.

Which makes Darius Elliott-Free a football-type guy that a coach would be happy to find anywhere.

Especially on the field.


• Coach: Mike Clancy, 4th year.

• Last season: 2-5 in the South Puget Sound League 3A, sixth place; 5-5 overall.

• Offense: Shotgun spread.

• Defense: 33.

• Returning starters (Name, year, position, height/weight): Darius Eillott-Free, sr., 5-6/160, WR/FS/PR; Matt Gayman, sr., LB, 6-0/210; Tate Newell, jr., WR/LB, 6-0/195; Vince Wagner, jr., RB/LB, 5-10/195; Robin Pridemore, sr., WR/DB, 6-0/160.

• Key newcomers: Reuben Taylor, OL/DL, 6-4/285; Daniel Taylor, OL/DL, 5-11/220; Cody McNeil, QB/WR/DB, 6-0/170; Kristian Agemotu, QB/WR/DL, 6-0/240; Sean Jensen-O’Connell, WR/DB, 5-10/180.

• Outlook: Though the league lost Auburn and Auburn Riverside, it has added traditionally-strong Lakes along with Clover Park and Peninsula. That said, there are no gimmes on the schedule. Regardless, this Auburn Mountainview team should be deeper than in past years. Now in its fourth year as a program, the Lions have plenty of speed, particularly at wide receiver with Elliot-Free, Pridemore and Newell back in fold. Establishing a quarterback likely will be this team’s biggest task in the early season. But with the returning speed at wide receiver and Gayman anchoring an improved defense, this should be a bunch that finds itself in the mix come season’s end.

• Can’t-miss game: Now that Auburn and Auburn Riverside have moved up to the Class 4A South Puget Sound League North Division, the Lions lack a true rival. However, rest assured, the Lions have had Bonney Lake circled on their calendar since last season’s 17-12 loss to a team that finished tied for third in the league standings. Reverse that one score and Auburn Mountainview would have remained in the playoff hunt until the final two weeks of the season. The Lions travel to Bonney Lake on Sept. 12. However, the most pivotal matchup on Auburn Mountainview’s schedule will likely come on Oct. 18, when the Lions play host to Sumner in Week 7. The Lions dropped a 15-14 decision to the Spartans a year ago, another one of those games that could’ve gone the other way. This one very well could decide who’s in and who’s out of the playoff race. In addition, Auburn Mountainview has perennial power Lakes in Week 8, so a win here is critical.



2007 5-5

2006 3-7

2005 1-8



9-5 vs. Clover Park *

9-12 at Bonney Lake

9-18 vs. Peninsula *

9-26 at White River

10-3 at Franklin Pierce

10-10 vs. Enumclaw *

10-18 vs. Sumner *

10-24 at Lakes

10-31 at Stadium

* At Auburn Memorial Stadium

All games kick off at 7 p.m.