Auburn 49, Tahoma 14
(Auburn, WA) The Auburn Trojans are off to a 2-0 start here in 2016 and used a pounding running game and shut defense to control Tahoma on their way to a 35-point win. Auburn got it going right out of the box when they won the coin toss and elected to take the opening possession which they marched down the field in a 10-play drive, 8 running and 2 incomplete passes, and punched it in on a Gavin Strojan QB keeper from the 14-yard line. The PAT was blocked in about the only miscue for the Trojans all night but they led 6-0 at the 8:10 mark.
After trading possessions it looked like the Bears may tie it or take the lead. The big play on this series that started on their own 34 was a 3rd down scramble by quarterback Conner Lambro for 14 yards extending the drive. The Bears had lost starting running back Max Repenn to what looked like a leg injury and Kaleb Leonard took over. There was a nice mix of plays for Tahoma on this drive that got them down to Auburn’s 10-yard line on a 3rd and 2 but the defense led by the front 3 Calvin Burns, Anthony King, Bailey Monaghan and middle backer EJ Brown shut them down in 2 straight plays and turned the ball over to the Trojans on the 10.
Auburn got back to business and proceeded to move down the field picking up large chunks of yardage. After another big run by Strojan and a pass play it would be Joseph Fagan who finished it off with a beautiful off tackle counter to the right and up the sideline into the endzone for a 23-yard TD run. Fagan would then take a hand-off on an end-around for the 2-point PAT and it was 14-0 with 8:06 to go in the half.
The Bears would make a QB change and let Max Arend have a series which didn’t last long. On the 3rd play of the drive facing a 3rd and long, Arend dropped back to pass and again was under heavy pressure but somehow got the pass off and hit Jerrell Chapman near mid-field. Chapman busted it toward the Auburn sideline and up the field for a 69-yard touchdown catch and run. Josh Smith added the PAT and the Bears were back in it down 14-7 with 6:41 to go in the half.
Auburn would not be satisfied and struck back quickly in about 90-seconds. Ben Freeman had a big 27-yard run to the 50, Strojan hit Darius Hatcher for a 26-yard strike and 2 plays later Nate Johnson bobbed and weaved up the field into the endzone on a nifty 14-yard scamper, Strojan booted the extra point and it was 21-7.
Arend would come back in for Tahoma for his 2nd possession but would throw a crossing pass into traffic on 3rd and long and it was picked off and returned to the 32, a 15-yard helmet to helmet penalty would further advance it to the 17. 3 plays later EJ Brown would bull himself into the endzone for a 2-yard plunge and they went to halftime with a 28-7 lead.
If the game had any doubt left, it was settled 12-seconds into the 2nd half. Auburn kicked off and Josh Smith took the ball right up the middle through a decent sized hole and got to the 35 when the ball was punched out. The Trojans’ Ben Freeman then scooped up the loose ball and scampered 30-yards into the endzone, add the PAT and with 11:48 to play in the 3rd it was now 35-7.
Auburn would tack on 2 more scores in the 3rd quarter a 2nd touchdown run from Nate Johnson and a 2-yard score by Gil-Shawn Johnson. Tahoma got on the board again late when Lambro hit Jordan Omatsu on a 20-yard strike to make the final score 49-14. Auburn dominated the stats with 19 1st downs, 346 yards rushing and 381 yards of total offense to go with the 49 points.
Our Tommy Lowe of the Greene Realty Group Players of the Game went to Auburn’s EJ Brown for his defensive prowess combined with the big effort from the front 3 and contributing on offense including a touchdown run. For Tahoma it was Jerrell Chapman for his spectacular catch and run for a 69-yard TD along with a few other catches and was one of the few bright spots offensively for the Bears.
Our ProActive Physical Therapy Play of the Game went to Ben Freeman for the scoop and TD return on the 2nd half opening kick-off to seal the game. Both teams will now begin league play in the NPSL next week.