Auburn Mountainview 24, Decatur 10
(Auburn, WA) The Auburn Mountainview Lions were looking for a quick cure for the disheartening 10-3 loss they just suffered to Todd Beamer dropping the Lions a game behind the Titans for the League Championship and winless Decatur looked to be antidote. The Gators had struggled all season and have not been close in most of their games.
It’s always a dangerous thing to look at the numbers on paper and then believe they will transfer to a live game. The Gators may have been winless and know their season is about to end next week but his simply made them more determined to try and get that 1st win and they nearly did so on Thursday night at Auburn Memorial.
After 2 back and forth drives aAM got the ball back but fumbled it on the Decatur 35. The Gators would than go on a 6+ minute 15-play drive highlighted by a 27-yard completion from QB Jake Cassaday to Cameron Bledsaw. Bledsaw was not the intended receiver but the ball was tipped by the receiver and defenders and ended up in Bledsaw’s hands who got down to the 10-yard line. The Gator defense held and Decatur decided to kick a field goal on 4th and 8 and Andrew Comito did not miss giving Decatur a 3-0 lead with a little less than 10-minutes to play in the half.
The Lions would take advantage of a 1-yard punt from the Gators after holding them to another 4th and long. The rush was stiff and the punter had to get the punt off quickly and it went literally straight up and came down 7 yards down the field but took a Lions bounce backwards 6 before the Gators could down it.
AM was penalized 5 yards and it looked like maybe Decatur whose defense had been tight all half may have the break they needed to again hold the Lions. On the 2nd play Bitner Wilson, the big AM running back busted off a huge 26 yard run to the 10. 2 plays later he would plow into the endzone, Carlos Huizar added the PAT and the Lions took a 7-3 with 2:34 to go and that’s where it would stay going to halftime.
To begin the 2nd half Decatur would get the ball 1st and throw an interception but it did not hurt the Gators in fact the 2 teams traded possessions until AM got it back off another INT on their own 17. They put on their most impressive drive of the game moving the ball to the Gator 25 when all-everything QB Talan Alfrey hit Michael Kramer on a slant pass who ran into the endzone untouched and the Lions had a little breathing room for the 1st time with a 14-3 lead.
Decatur’s offense was having trouble getting going and the Lions were on the move again in Gator territory when Wilson had the ball punched out of his arms on a running play over the right side. Jeremiah Palaita scooped it up and dashed 65 yards for a Decatur defensive touchdown and were back in it 14-9. The Gator’s elected to go for the 1-point conversion which was a little surprising figuring a 2-point conversion would pull them within 3 while trailing 4 or 5 either way you would need a TD to get the lead, none the less the PAT was good and it was 14-10.
AM would turn the ball over to Decatur on a 3 and out but a 40-yard punt rolled to the Gator 19 but momentum was on Decatur’s side. On the 2nd play, disaster as Bitner Wilson would return the favor and recover a Gator fumble on their 23. Decatur’s defense was playing inspired and forced the Lions into a healthy field goal attempt but Huizar was dead on splitting the uprights from 33 yards to give the Lins a 7-point, 17-10 cushion.
Decatur’s hopes of a comeback would end on a close play when Cassaday dropped back to pass and the ball came off his hand and the Lions recovered the loose ball on the Gator 6 yard line. Cassaday claimed it was an incomplete pass and it did look like his arm was moving forward but from our angle tough to see if the ball had already begun to come out or not and the official called it immediately.
The Lions did not waste this opportunity to put the game away with less than 5 minutes to go in the game and Alfrey took it in himself on the 2nd and 3 play pushing the AM lead to 2 touchdowns 24-10. Decatur put in back up QB Rhett McLaughlin who completed 3 passes for 48 yards and drove down to the Lions 12 but with 1:07 left to play 4th down pass would go incomplete and AM officially secured the win to improve to 5-1 in league play while Decatur dropped to 0-6.
Alfrey would finish with 62 yards rushing and 163 through the air with 1 passing and 1 rushing TD, Wilson had 86 yards on the ground and 1 touchdown while Kramer 3 passes for 47 yards including the 25-yard scoring strike. The Lions ground out 314 total yards on the night while their defense held Decatur to 145 and just 25 total rushing yards. Cassaday and McLaughlin combined for 120 passing yards led by Armani Hill’s 3 catches for 29 yards.
Our Tommy Lowe of Greene Realty Players of the Game went to AM’s Talan Alfrey and Decatur’s Jeremiah Palaita and our ProActive Physical Therapy Play of the Game was Alfrey’s TD throw to Michael Kramer.