PREP FOOTBALL: Auburn remains undefeated with 28-14 win over Kentridge

For a half, it looked like the Trojans’ South Puget Sound League 4A North Division winning streak might be in jeopardy against Kentridge this past Thursday at French Field.

The Chargers (3-1 league, 3-2 overall) slowed down the powerhouse Trojan (5-0, 5-0) in the first half, holding the North Division’s most potent rushing attack to a measly 39 yards on 21 attempts.

Stopping the third-ranked Trojans, however, proved to be an impossible task.

Auburn’s Chris Young rushed for 138 yards and two touchdowns while backfield teammate Alphonse Wade added 105 yards rushing and two more scores, leading the Trojans past the Chargers 28-14 in a South Puget Sound League North Division game.

“They did so good blitzing the right gaps that we usually run through (in the first half) and that’s mainly what stopped us from doing what we do,” said Young, who rushed for a 26-yard score in the third quarter and a 41-yard touchdown in the fourth. “The first half, I was kind of worried. We just had to adjust.”

After playing a nearly flawless first half on defense, Kentridge was simply spent during the third and fourth quarters as Auburn racked up 276 yards on 24 rushes in the final 24 minutes.

“We just got tired at the end,” said defensive lineman Nico White, who collected one sack in the loss. “We just need to step up our conditioning, that’s all I really have to say.”

With Kentridge geared up for the Auburn rushing attack, the Trojans used some trickery in the second quarter to break a 0-0 tie. On Auburn’s third offensive play of the quarter, Austin Embody took the handoff, dropped back to pass and delivered a high, wobbly toss to Wade, who pulled in the reception at the 4-yard line before cruising in for the 36-yard touchdown.

Wade split a pair of Kentridge defenders to make the play.

“That was a play designed to keep (defenses) honest,” said Auburn coach Gordon Elliott. “And they weren’t honest and so they paid for it.”

The Trojans made the Chargers pay again in the third quarter, this time on a botched punt. Kentridge punter Wes Concepcion mishandled the snap, giving Auburn the ball at midfield. Six plays later, Young scooted around the left side of the Kentridge line thanks to several blocks by Embody and bolted 26 yards for the score, giving Auburn a 14-0 lead.

Wade pushed the lead to 21-0 with a 41-yard touchdown run to open the fourth quarter.

Down by three scores, Kentridge’s offense woke up in the fourth quarter as sophomore quarterback Caleb Smith engineered a 9-play, 73-yard drive capped off by a 5-yard touchdown run from Alex Tyson. Smith completed 3 of 3 passes for 37 yards on the drive while running back Cameron McKernan added four carries for 23 yards.

“We just have to do a better job of moving the chains and getting in the end zone (in the first half) so they don’t feel like they’re just hanging on,” lamented Kentridge coach Marty Osborn. “We maybe could have opened up throwing the ball more in the first half.”

The Auburn offense, which came into the night averaging 45 points per game, continued to roll on its next possession, needing just four plays to go 80 yards, a drive that was capped on a 41-yard touchdown run by Young.

Smith then connected on his final three passes of the night, culminating with a14-yard touchdown strike to Jason Didis that accounted for the final score.

As good as the Kentridge defense was in the first half, Auburn held up throughout the night, holding the Chargers to 196 total yards, including just 79 on the ground on 35 carries.

“That defense was fast,” said Smith, who completed 7 of 13 passes for 117 yards. “We competed out there. We never gave up.”

Auburn will host Kentlake (2-2 in league, 2-3 overall) at 7 p.m. this Thursday at Auburn Memorial Stadium.