Auburn-Mountainview 33, Thomas Jefferson 15
(Auburn, WA) These 2 NPSL teams stalemated for more than a quarter and a half when the Lions finally pushed themselves into the Raiders Red Zone. But Thomas Jefferson would hold tight and force the Lions to attempt a 31-yard field goal. As AM’s Carlos Huizar approached to boot it he hit it a little low and one of the Raiders got their big mit on it blocking it. The fell to the right side of the offense where TJ’s Sonny Fuavai scooped it up on about the 25 and took off 75-yards for the touchdown and the Raiders struck first at the 4:30 mark of the 2nd quarter.
There was plenty of time for the Lions to respond and they did so with a nice 70-yard, 7 play drive highlighted with the Lions passing game kicking in. QB Talan Alfrey fired off 3 straight completions of 16, 17 and then a 16 yard TD pass to Alex McBee. The PAT was good and the Lions were even at 7-7 with 1:59 to play.
Disaster would strike the Raiders as they would fumble the ball and turn it over to the Lions on their own 21 with 1:45 to play. It would take 3 plays for them to the lead on an Alfrey to Ben Mose 10-yard pass and catch, Huizar added the PAT and AM led at the half 14-7.
The Lions would build on their lead in every way possible, first with a big defensive play by Mose who blocked a punt that rolled out of the back of the endzone for a safety to go up 16-14. The Lions would get the ball on the free kick and add to their lead. They would drive down inside the 10 but have to settle for a redeeming Huizar field goal from 25-yards out and it was now 19-7.
As much as the game felt like it was controlled by the Lions, who held the Raiders to just 32 total yards in the 1st half and then blocked a punt and kicked a field goal they still only led by 12 points. TJ was looking for a break and it came on another punt that AM’s Alfrey muffed and the Raiders recovered it on the AM 29. Raider’s Mason Delacruz would take matters into his own hands and ran in an 11-yard TD run with a spectacular run avoiding at least 3 tackles to score.
The Raiders then pulled out the trickery with a swinging gate alignment for the PAT and Delacruz throwing the ball to the Center Jordan Peeks for the 2-point conversion making it just a 4-point game 19-15 with a full 4th quarter to go.
The key to the game came down to another punt. After Delacruz was called for a huge intentional grounding penalty creating a 3rd and 41 and then forcing a punt, the Lions rush on the punter ended with a roughing the kicker penalty giving the Raiders new life with a 1st and 10. The Raiders then would fumble on the next play turning it over to AM on their own 44.
9 plays later Bitner Wilson plowed into the endzone from the 4-yard line and extended their lead to 26-14. The caused fumble and recovery earned the AM Lions defense our ProActive Physical Therapy Play of the Game.
AM added a late touchdown when the Lions Bitner Wilson busted off a 40-yard run with just 2:21 left to play in the game for the final 33-14 win. The Lions have now won 3 in a row and are 3-0 in NPSL play and improving to 3-2 overall while T Jeff drops to 0-3 and 1-4.
Our Tommy Lowe of the Greene Realty Group Players of the Game went to Ben Mose of AM and Sonny Fuavai for the Raiders.