Seemingly by the skin of their teeth, the Auburn Mountainview Lions football team found a way to outlast the Todd Beamer Titans, 19-12, at Auburn Memorial Stadium on Homecoming night.
“I’m not sure any more adversity could have came our way… From my standpoint and our kids, I’m just really proud of the kids. As you can see, they never quit, they kept playing,” said acting Head Coach Adam Greve about the Oct. 13 game.
Coming into the game, the Lions were without Head Coach Kent Rodseth, so offensive coordinator Adam Greve was acting head coach for the Lions.
Greve had a lot of respect for Todd Beamer’s head coach, Rodney McCurry: “They’re getting a lot better. I told their coach that multiple times. They’re remarkably better than when we first saw them,” he said.
Auburn Mountainview bounced back from a tough loss against Kent-Meridian on Oct. 5 against Kentlake and have now won two in a row for the first time all season.
The Oct. 13 game was decided on the final Todd Beamer drive. It took a great play from senior Isaiah Wallis-Caw on defense to send Beamer home unhappy. “He’s just a great athlete,” Greve said.
It was a relatively slow first quarter for the Lions. On their second possession, QB Elijah Baird threw an interception that didn’t result in points. But it slowed the Lions’ momentum.
After Todd Beamer opened the scoring in the second quarter, the Lions responded with a methodical drive of their own. Auburn Mountainview junior Sir Naomas Failalutusi found his way into the end zone, finishing a physical run.
The lone other big play of the half came from the defense. Wallis-Caw caught a careless pass across the field from Todd Beamer and showed his taillights to the Titan offense for a pick-six.
It was a struggle for points in the first half and really the game for Auburn Mountainview. There were two drives that stalled inside the red zone, and the Lions elected to go for six instead of three off the right foot of senior Nate Esayase.
“We knew there were some things down here that we could take advantage of, and you know, we just didn’t,” said Greve.
With Todd Beamer bringing the game within one with under four minutes left in the game, Auburn Mountainview had a turnover on downs on offense, and their defense picked them up. Freshman safety Elijah Carney intercepted the Titan quarterback, securing the ball for the Lions.
On that possession, Elijah Baird dropped back to pass and scrambled for a 73-yard touchdown run. Interestingly enough, if he went down and gave himself up, the ball wouldn’t have gone back to Todd Beamer and the Lions would have won by a point. Instead, Baird opted for the score, which gave Todd Beamer one final go.
“He is the leader… He’s got a pretty good support group and he’s getting older and more confident being able to vocalize to other kids, which is a big deal,” Greve said.
In the game against Todd Beamer, Baird even convinced coaches of play calls.
“We didn’t want to fumble down here, and he said ‘let’s run quarterback draw. I can do it;, I can get it,’” Baird told Greve.
“I think that’s the leader thing too, just wanting the ball and wanting to be that guy,” Greve said.
And once more the defense showed up and showed out. Isaiah Wallis-Caw forced a fumble on Todd Beamer’s first play of what would be their final drive of the game.
“He’s a great leader, works hard and watches film. He helps the young kids out. He knows what we’re doing and what other kids are doing,” Greve said.
Wallis-Caw and Elijah Baird are almost assistant coaches while on the field.
“Him (Wallis-Caw) on defense and (Baird) on offense are two guys if we for whatever reason make a mistake or bad call. They can get us out of it and fix it,” Greve said. “Because we have kids out there like that. It helps us be more successful.”
Playing in a tight game on Homecoming is a special environment with what is on the line, and it reminds Greve of why he loves the game.
“The kids are the best part of my day… We kind of dug ourselves a little hole. I think that’s why you come to watch young kids to become young men, while competing at the highest possible level you can,” Greve said.
Auburn Mountainview sits third in the 3A standings behind Auburn and Auburn Riverside. But they can still make a postseason run. The Lions face Riverside on Oct. 20 and Tahoma to close out the regular season on Oct. 28.