Second-half meltdown sinks KL in defeat to No. 5 Auburn

The trifecta didn’t quite happen for the Auburn High football team on Friday night at French Field. But win No. 50 for seventh-year coach Gordon Elliott did. Behind the three-pronged rushing attack of Chris Young, Austin Embody and Jeff Gouveia, the Trojans steamrolled to 449 yards and six touchdowns on the ground in a 42-7 South Puget Sound League North Division victory against Kentlake.

  • BY Wire Service
  • Monday, October 13, 2008 8:02pm
  • Sports
Kentlake's Tyler Wright goes over two Auburn defenders on a kickoff return in the first half. Auburn defenders are Andrew Bonwell (32) and Doug Davis  (8).

Kentlake's Tyler Wright goes over two Auburn defenders on a kickoff return in the first half. Auburn defenders are Andrew Bonwell (32) and Doug Davis (8).

The trifecta didn’t quite happen for the Auburn High football team on Friday night at French Field.

But win No. 50 for seventh-year coach Gordon Elliott did.

Behind the three-pronged rushing attack of Chris Young, Austin Embody and Jeff Gouveia, the Trojans steamrolled to 449 yards and six touchdowns on the ground in a 42-7 South Puget Sound League North Division victory against Kentlake.

Gouveia, who rushed for 87 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries, was the only running back of the three not to reach 100 yards. Young finished with 127 yards and one score on 10 carries. Embody added 118 yards on 12 carries as the fifth-ranked Trojans (6-0 in league, 6-0 overall) remained unbeaten.

“I don’t see anybody stopping our running game,” said Embody, a 6-foot, 190-pound sophomore. “The only people I see stopping us is us. If we play the way we can play, nobody can stop us.”

And Friday night, despite playing a nearly flawless first half, the Falcons (3-2 in league, 3-3 overall) were simply unable to do just that.

“You have three guys getting the ball and it’s like a three-headed monster out there,” Kentlake coach Mike Shepard said. “It’s ... pick your poison. You try and stop (Gouveia) and somebody else gets the ball.”

It was Kentlake’s third straight loss since opening the season with three consecutive wins.

“We’re still in control of our own destiny,” Shepard said. “I think Auburn and Federal Way are the two top teams in the league. But with everyone else, there’s a lot of parity. With two more playoff positions in the league, we have to win two (more) games.”

After the victory, Auburn players surrounded Elliott at midfield and showered the coach with chants of “50.”

“I’m 54 (years old),” Elliott deadpanned. “Until my daughter told me after the game, I didn’t know (it was my 50th win). It kind of surprised me.”

What wasn’t surprising, however, was the methodical, overpowering approach the Trojans took in the game. Kentlake pulled out all the stops against Auburn, even converting an onside kick to open the game. The Falcons also converted a pair of critical fourth-down plays during the first half and took to the air with more success than in previous weeks. Quarterback Lewi Larson completed 14 of 28 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown.

But Auburn’s triple-threat rushing attack proved too much for the Falcons.

“It’s unstoppable,” said Larson. “Three of the best running backs we’ve seen all year.”

It showed from the beginning, too.

On its first drive of the game, Auburn marched 94 yards on 11 plays, culminating with a 1-yard touchdown run by Gouveia, to take an early 7-0 lead.

Kentlake, showing the grit that made it so successful earlier in the season, responded with a 14-play, 66-yard drive capped off with a 9-yard touchdown pass from Larson to Ryan Esping, tying the game at 7-7 early in the second quarter.

Auburn’s offense continued to chew up the ground on its next possession, needing just eight plays to go 75 yards and taking a 14-7 lead on a 29-yard run by quarterback Carlo Lavoie.

The Falcons, however, didn’t concede. Down 14-7 coming out of halftime, they marched the ball down to the Auburn 31-yard line on their first possession of the third quarter.

The tide then turned on Kentlake.

Lewis connected with Tyler Wright for a 16-yard gain on a 4th-and-5, pushing the ball down to Auburn’s 15. But Wright, who was reluctant to go down on the play, was subsequently stripped of the ball by Lavoie, who doubles as a defensive back.

“I looked at it and the officials could have called it a stop of progress ... But (Wright) was still fighting,” Shepard said. “If he pivots, he could run 20 yards for a touchdown. That’s a learning experience. And I am not going to fault him for fighting.”

Auburn made good on Lavoie’s strip, promptly marching 84 yards on 12 plays and taking a 21-7 lead on a 5-yard run by Gouveia.

The Trojans ripped off 21 more unanswered points, getting fourth-quarter touchdown runs from Bryan Kasa, Young and Rashad Clarke.

“A lot of teams ... are good at running the ball run with just one guy,” Elliott said. “We don’t want (opponents) to be able to gang up on Jeff (Gouveia) or Chris (Young) or whoever. We try and spread it around a little bit. Plus, we have more than one good guy who can run the ball.”

ELSEWHERE:

• Kentwood 69, Jefferson 6: The Conquerors (3-2 in league, 4-2 overall) have clearly put that two-game slide behind them. Behind another huge performance from senior running back Darrius Coleman, Kentwood ran all over Jefferson on Friday, throttling the Raiders 69-6 in a South Puget Sound League North Division game.

Coleman eclipsed the 200-yard mark for the second straight week, rushing for 252 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. But Coleman was far from alone. Backfield teammate Joe Angevine added 112 yards and two touchdowns on five carries while quarterback and brother Luke Angevine completed 5 of 6 passes for 83 yards and one touchdown.

Kentwood has now won three in a row since the two-game skid. During that span, the Conquerors have outscored their opponents 156-19.

• Spanaway Lake 33, Kent-Meridian 26: The wins haven’t yet come for the Kent-Meridian football team, but running back Artise Gauldin continued to post huge numbers on Thursday in a nonleague loss to the Sentinels.

Gauldin, a senior, rushed for 244 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries for the Royals (0-5, 0-6). Gauldin also recorded three tackles and one interception in the nonleague loss.

• Kentridge 10, Tahoma 0: The Chargers remained in the hunt for one of the four playoff berths from the SPSL North, getting a huge defensive play from Sean Ringor in the second quarter in upsetting the Bears.

Ringor returned a fumble 48 yards for a touchdown, which proved to be all the offense the Chargers (2-3, 3-3) would need. Kicker Wes Concepcion added a 25-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to account for all the points in the game.

Tahoma (4-2, 4-2) turned over the ball five times in the loss.

• Federal Way 21, Auburn Riverside 0: The Ravens (2-3, 3-3) held the Eagles (4-1, 5-1) to their fewest points since Week 1, but it wasn’t enough to avoid the loss.

Washington State University-bound running back Andre Barrington led the way for the Eagles, rushing for 101 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.

Auburn Riverside couldn’t muster much on the ground, managing just 18 yards on 32 carries. Quarterback John Hakala did complete 9 of 15 passes or 111 yards, but was sacked four times.

• Enumclaw 23, Auburn Mountainview 20: Cody McNeil rushed for 131 yards and two touchdowns for the Lions (3-3, 3-3), but it wasn’t enough in a loss to Enumclaw (3-2, 3-3). Enumclaw kicker Andy Holdener connected on a 20-yard field goal with four seconds remaining to lift the Hornets to the victory.

The loss snapped Auburn Mountainview’s two game winning streak, and dropped the Lions into the middle of the pack in the South Puget Sound League 3A.

Auburn Mountainview entered the fourth quarter in a 20-20 tie with the Hornets.

Matt Gayman provided Auburn Mountainview with its only other score, returning an interception 17 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.


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