Sports

Auburn blasts K-M 49-0, retains Taylor Trophy

Kent-Meridian quarterback David Jones watches as the Auburn football team receives the Taylor trophy. - Gary Kissel/Reporter Newspapers
Kent-Meridian quarterback David Jones watches as the Auburn football team receives the Taylor trophy.
— image credit: Gary Kissel/Reporter Newspapers

For nine straight years, the Taylor Trophy has been out of the Auburn High display case only long enough to be carted to the annual football game between the Trojans and Kent-Meridian.

Then it’s re-presented to Auburn after the final whistle — and put right back into the display case.

Even before the first quarter ended in last Friday’s annual renewal of the state’s second-oldest gridiron rivalry, one thing was very clear:

That nine-year streak would stretch to 10.

During that opening 12 minutes, the Trojans methodically racked up 209 yards and four touchdowns. By the end of the game, it was nearly 500 yards and seven TDs on the way to a 49-0 rout of the Royals at French Field.

“When we moved down to 3A (for the 2006 and 2007 seasons), people didn’t care who we were playing. They just cared about when we played for the Taylor Trophy,” said Auburn two-way senior lineman Zac Tate, who helped his team improve to 3-0 in league and overall play.

At either level, Tate and his senior classmates hung onto the venerable wooden trophy all four years.

“This means a lot — it’s a big tradition around here,” he said.

The Royals (1-2, 1-2) knew they were facing a tall order against an Auburn team that has made a habit of punishing its first three opponents with a fierce, effective ground attack. On Friday, that attack accounted for 356 of Auburn’s 490 total yards. The Trojans had 242 rushing yards and 376 total at halftime.

“They didn’t do anything different (than what we expected),” K-M coach Trevor Roberts said. “They’re fundamental, they’re physical, they did everything right. And in practice, you can’t simulate what they do. If you can simulate what they can do, then you can defend it. But no way.”

What Auburn did during that decisive first quarter last Friday was a model of efficiency. The Trojans had the ball for exactly four of the 12 minutes. That’s all — four minutes. During that time, they ran 13 plays, all but one of those a first-down play and racked up 212 yards, 143 of which came on the ground.

But Trojans quarterback Carlo Lavoie also threw the ball twice — both of them touchdown tosses to Austen Embody — that accounted for 69 more yards.

“We have to keep them honest. We have to do that and make sure they have to defend the whole field,” Auburn coach Gordon Elliott said. “Carlo did a great job of reading the secondary and finding open receivers.”

Not that Kent-Meridian was without its chances. Matter of fact, the Royals put together a methodical march too, starting at their own 30 and moving all the way down to the Auburn 7. But a pass from sophomore quarterback David Jones to Deangelo Larkin was picked off by Lavoie in the end zone.

By halftime, it was 42-0 as Auburn senior fullback Jeff Gouveia had run in for three touchdowns (53, 14 and 5) to go along with Embody’s two scoring catches and the Trojans’ first TD of the night, a 6-yard run by Isaiah Johnson.

K-M had one more serious shot at the end zone, coming in the early stages of the second quarter. But this time, on a Royals 2nd-and-1 from the Trojan 19, Auburn’s Chris Young intercepted a pass at the 3 that had been intended for Marlowe Brim.

“They played extremely well,” Roberts said of the Trojans. “I didn’t think we played up to our potential by any means. We came out with a unique game plan, and it didn’t come to fruition. We have to look at what we did (on film).”

K-M quarterback Jones led his team with 80 yards rushing on 15 carries. Chravis Fuimaono picked up 44 yards as the Royals went 241 yards on the ground and had 305 total.

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