Preseason favorites were thrown out the window Friday night when the Auburn Riverside Ravens came away with a huge 49-35 upset victory over the perennial powerhouse Tahoma Bears.
“I’m so happy for these kids,” Ravens coach Bryant Thomas said. “I believe in them. I’ve always believed in them. Now they’ve started to believe in me. It’s a great marriage when everyone believes in each other and works together to reach a common goal.”
Auburn Riverside (3-0) found a spark after halftime, outscoring Tahoma, 28-7, in the final two quarters.
Ravens senior quarterback Kevin Thomson carried Auburn Riverside with 13 rushes for 170 yards and two touchdowns. Through the air, he was 7-for-18 with a touchdown and two interceptions.
With Thomson rallying the offense, Auburn Riverside’s defense actually had the play of the game.
Up by seven points with just under six minutes to go, Tahoma’s offense was in the midst of a potential tying drive.
Bears senior receiver Denham Patricelli caught a swing pass near the 50-yard line but was stripped of the ball by senior linebacker Alex Riley, and the Ravens’ defense recovered the ball.
Auburn Riverside sealed the win after Gavin Hettinger’s 22-yard touchdown run.
For Tahoma, Patricelli was nearly perfect. Fighting through double-coverage, he hauled in 8 catches for 199 yards and one touchdown. On defense, he grabbed an interception as well.
Tahoma’s senior quarterback Shane Nelson was 15 of 31 for 275 yards and threw for three scores.
Thomas said this win describes exactly what he had to say to his team before the game.
“I was telling them (Tahoma is) a team that is picked to win the league,” he said. “You’re going to have to fight. There is going to be adversity. … Keep your eyes on the prize and we’ll be OK.”