Auburn Mountainview High School’s football team has faced a lot of changes in the nine months since they last took the field; 22 seniors graduated and the school is now playing in the 4A North Puget Sound League instead of the 3A SPSL — even though it’s still a 3A-sized school.
Coach Jared Gervais is taking the change in stride by retooling his team and getting back to basics.
"It’s not so much do with our young players, but our quarterbacks this year have never started before," he said. "We’re going back to some of the basic stuff that we did when we first started and simplifying our offense."
But he still has running back Bitner Wilson, who last year rushed for 823 yards on 142 carries and scored 11 touchdowns.
"I just want to finish off [this year] and have a great season with my team," Wilson said. "Being one heart, one mind, one team will achieve that goal."
Returning senior linebackers Ben Mose and Bridger Child, and junior defensive backs Sui Daniels and Talan Alfrey help anchor a defense that does not need as much retooling as the offense.
"We have a lot of experience in those positions, so we can retain some of the complexity,” Gervais said. “But at the others, we will be a little more simple.”
The Lions’ entrance into the newly re-formed 4A NPSL Olympic division will provide a unique set of obstacles. Gervais and his players have rarely played against their new rivals from the Federal Way area — though they’re joined by fellow 3A SPSL-converts Auburn, Auburn Riverside and Enumclaw.
"We’re kind of excited about the new scenery,” Gervais said. “It will be fun and provide a different challenge.”
Auburn Mountainview opens the season against Kentlake at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2, at Auburn Memorial Stadium.
Jordan Whitford: 253-597-8680