Maybe next year.
The Auburn Trojans didn’t think they were going to have to wait another season to return to the semifinals for the first time since 2007.
They thought they were good enough to beat Skyview down here in Vancouver, even without star RB/DB Chris Young, the Washington recruit who was one of three players suspended at the end of the regular season for an athletic code violation.
They did just fine without him in their first two playoff games and led 14-6 early Friday night against Skyview.
But the Storm stormed back and continued to rain on the South Puget Sound League’s parade to earn its first semifinal berth. Along the way, Skyview eliminated Federal Way, then Bethel, and now Auburn, 34-21.
The Trojans lost despite the 268-yard effort of junior Alphonse Wade, who had a pair of 62-yard TD runs. They saw the early lead slip away and trailed 21-14 at halftime before Wade broke that second long scoring jaunt early in the third quarter.
It was 21-21 and surely the potent Trojans would find the end zone once or twice again. Instead, it was Skyview making the plays down the stretch. And for the second straight year, Auburn’s title hopes ended in the quarterfinals. The team lost at this juncture last year to another Sky-high team, Skyline.
Coach Gordon Elliott gathered his dejected players around him and reminded them they had a great season, which they indeed did at 11-1. He congratulated the seniors and challenged the juniors and sophomores to learn from the experience and take the next step in 2010.
They should have the talent to do just that with backs like Wade and Austin Embody as well as gigantic lineman Danny Shelton (6-2, 320), who could be one of the top recruits in the country.
But the wait is over for Skyview, which has a nice offensive run/pass package and great chemistry. And the Storm just might not be over yet.