Auburn – Despite a late fourth quarter rally, Auburn held on to beat Olympia, 41-38, in a Class 4A district crossover playoff game on Saturday night at Auburn Memorial Stadium.
Olympia, which scored 14 unanswered points late, failed to secure an onside kick with just over a minute to go, allowing Auburn to take a knee, secure the victory and move on to the first round of the state playoffs.
Auburn, which features a wing-back offense, had two key components return: star halfback Harold Lee and quarterback Brier Atkinson. Both were previously injured in a 43-0 loss to Federal Way on Oct. 19. Lee sustained a concussion on a helmet-to-helmet hit, and Atkinson suffered a minor neck injury while being blocked after an interception.
However, Auburn (8-2) didn’t feature Lee as much as usual – the elusive playmaker finished with 88 total yards. Filling in as the Trojans’ key back was diminutive senior Darnell Hagans.
Standing just 5-foot-5, Hagans used patience to find small creases in between the tackles, and with his water bug-type quickness danced his way to 100 yards and two touchdowns.
Atkinson also played a key role for Auburn, rushing for 110 yards. The junior pushed across a touchdown on a 1-yard keeper.
Olympia, which featured a balanced offense, found success in short, quick out passes and a power running game featuring Casey Bond.
Bond, who resembled a human bowling ball, plowed his way past initial contact for 104 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He also had what would have been a 42-yard touchdown run called back because of a holding penalty. He later scored from 3 yards out.
In charge of the passing attack for Olympia (4-6), Michael Naipo had a solid game throwing for 186 yards and two touchdowns.
Both of Naipo’s touchdown passes came in the last five minutes.
He hit Alex Johnson from 8 yards and Michael Fettig with a 5-yarder.