Lions coach Jared Gervais. MARK KLAAS, Auburn Reporter

Lions coach Jared Gervais. MARK KLAAS, Auburn Reporter

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

Auburn Mountainview to make sixth straight postseason appearance

Toughened up from playing big, physical foes, Auburn Mountainview is ready to see just how far it can go in the November playoffs.

The Lions dropped a frustrating 20-15 outcome to Todd Beamer at windswept Federal Way on Saturday afternoon but discovered much more about themselves facing the 4A programs in the North Puget Sound League’s top-tiered Mountain Division.

“We know we can play with a very physical football team. Every team in the Mountain Division, they are the real deal,” said the Lions’ all-purpose player, senior Cooper White. “It was good to see that (toughness and resolve) out of our team. Now let’s see how we can bounce back (this) week. We have the home-field advantage … under the lights. We will be ready to go.”

Auburn Mountainview (3-5) – the Mountain’s No. 4 team – faces Hazen of Renton (2-6) – the middle-tiered Valley Division’s No. 4 representative – for the NPSL’s 5 seed to the Nov. 8-9 district playoffs. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Friday at Auburn Memorial Stadium.

Auburn Mountainview has reached the postseason six straight seasons and in eight of the nine autumns under coach Jared Gervais.

“The guys battled,” Gervais said, “and the good thing is we come out of this pretty healthy.”

The Lions went toe-to-toe with the playoff-bound Titans (4-4), frequently moving the ball but coming up short and settling for field goals, instead of touchdowns. Auburn Mountainview’s spread attack accounted for 339 yards, 207 of which came from the right arm of freshman Kayde Bodine.

Julian Huizar made all three of his field goal attempts, the longest from 37 yards out, and Berkley Alfrey scored on a fumble recovery.

Alfrey, a junior standout, also pounded out 118 yards on 29 carries. Teagin Child had 10 catches for 141 yards.

The Lions led 12-7 at the half before giving up the go-ahead TD in the third quarter.

Trailing 20-15 and facing a stiff wind, Auburn Mountainview mounted a drive in the final two minutes of the game. They drove to the Titans’ 17 but couldn’t convert on fourth-and-10 with 32.8 seconds left.

“Obviously, there’s some plays we would like to have back offensively and defensively. Some playcalls we definitely would like to have back offensively,” Gervais said.

Despite dropping four of five division games, the Lions are poised to break through with a win against Hazen.

“Obviously our guys are frustrated at being 3-5, but it’s made us a ton better. It’s made our guys better,” Gervais said. “It’s going to make us better going (into) the playoffs, and it’s going to make us better for the future. The guys will know what it’s going to take to be better.”

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