With his football team short of healthy kickers and trailing by a point on the road, Auburn Mountainview coach Jared Gervais didn’t hesitate a moment to go for two and the win.
The Lions responded, completing the go-ahead conversion on Cooper White’s run in the fourth quarter to escape with an 8-7 victory over Hazen, and capture the North Puget Sound League Valley Division title last Friday night at Renton Stadium.
“We would have been on our fourth kicker, and Erik (Martinez) did a great job punting for us, but I didn’t want to put him in that position. That made it a little easier,” Gervais said of his bold decision. “I said, ‘Let’s get the ball to Cooper and see what he can do.’ … He made a great play, kind of twisting his body over the pylon, and it worked out great.”
Quarterback Carson Klemetsen ran for the Lions’ lone touchdown, setting up the decisive conversion.
It was the Lions’ first football title of any kind in the program’s 14-year history. Auburn Mountainview has reached the postseason five straight seasons and in seven of the eight autumns under Gervais.
“The kids just kept working hard. For them to be division champs is pretty awesome,” Gervais said. “They kept believing. They didn’t give up when they were 1-5 and things weren’t going well. They kept working and trying to get better.”
The Lions (3-1 division, 3-5 overall) play NPSL Mountain Division champion Todd Beamer (6-2) in a division crossover playoff game for seeding purposes Friday. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Federal Way Stadium.
“They’re big and physical as always,” Gervais said of the Titans. “We have to be ready to go and match their physicality. If we do a good job with that, I think we have a really good chance to win on Friday night.”
A win would send the Lions back to the district playoffs. Win, and the Lions will play at home next week against the survivor of the Kingco’s Skyline-Inglemoor game. Lose, and they will travel next week to play against the loser of the Wesco’s Glacier Peak-Mount Vernon matchup.
Hazen (3-1, 5-3) goes to Enumclaw to meet the Mountain’s No. 2 finisher, the Hornets, on Friday.
Sophomore running back Berkley Alfrey ran for 99 yards for the Lions. Klemetsen passed for 41 yards and ran for 36.
Teagin Child, a sophomore, led a stout defensive effort with 14 tackles, 10 of which were solo, and recovered a fumble.
Todd Beamer 29, at Auburn Riverside 13: The Titans erupted for 22 fourth-quarter points to deny the Ravens in an NPSL Mountain Division game last Friday night.
Auburn Riverside (3-5) hosts Federal Way in an NPSL crossover playoff elimination game at 7 p.m. Friday.
Henry Igwala ran 74 yards for a TD and Andrew Butler recovered a fumble 33 yards for another for the Ravens.
Jayden Solis ran for 62 yards and led the Ravens with 10 tackles.
Brando Niksich, Denny Tiumalu, Xavier Watson and Prince Fa’amalele scored on runs for the Titans.
At Federal Way 32, Auburn 29: The Eagles (5-3) rallied to down the Trojans in an NPSL Valley Division game Thursday night, Oct. 18.
Calvin Liulamaga passed for 327 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 118 yards for the Trojans (2-6).
Aadam Nasheed caught eight passes for 115 yards and a TD, and Connor Howat had seven receptions for 139 yards and a score. Carter Casad grabbed four passses for 25 yards and a TD.
The Trojans have a nonleague game against Ingraham (5-2) at 7 p.m. Thursday at Auburn Memorial Stadium.