High School Sports

Auburn Mountainview shows it can bully with the big boys

If there was such a thing as the “nice-guy” football program in the 3A South Puget Sound League, it would be Auburn Mountainview High School.

Blessed with talented athletes, the Lions had never matched the physicality of the league’s two bullies — Lakes and Peninsula.

But that has changed.

The eighth-ranked Lions are off to a program-best 6-0 start — 4-0 3A SPSL — and now will see what meaningful football feels like in October. They host the two-time defending league champion Seahawks on Friday night in a game that easily could decide the 3A SPSL crown.

“It has big implications,” Lions quarterback Gresch Jensen said.

If you don’t believe the nice-guy persona, just strike up a conversation with the coach (Jared Gervais) and the quarterback (Jensen).

If you seek someone who can be a tad crusty, that would be defensive coordinator Kent Rodseth, who joined the staff in Gervais’ second season in 2012.

“Kent is a guy who brings an edge to us. And our offensive line coach (Brian Grout), he is also brutally honest about things,” Gervais said. “Kent is a grinder, and people can get frustrated with that. But he’s helped get the kids to believe they should win these types of football games.”

Rodseth has also been primarily responsible for improving the quality of the team’s strength and conditioning program.

“He pushes us a lot in the weight room, and he definitely has made this program what it is in terms of our strength,” Jensen said. “I mean, we’ve always been pushed around. But now we are using our strength (to push back).”

And the Lions have a keeper in Jensen, who also leads the team in interceptions at free safety.

But unlike in the past, when defenses dared Auburn Mountainview to run the football when it could not — the Lions have been doing that this season.

“We’ve run the ball more times than we’ve passed it,” Gervais said. “That has been an interesting experience.”