AUBURN, Mass. – The Auburn High School football team actually looked vulnerable at times on Saturday against the tough St. Peter-Marian team, but even when they’re not at their best, the Rockets showed that they can pull out victories.
Auburn withstood a fourth-quarter rally from the Guardians, holding on for a 34-22 win at Anna Maria College on Sept. 22. Auburn improved to 3-0 with the victory, and St. Peter-Marian dropped to 1-2.
“I thought our kids gave a great effort,” said Auburn head coach Jeff Cormier. “What I’m pleased with is I think we can get better. There are things that are correctable, and if our guys come back with the intent to get better, then I think we have an opportunity to get better.”
Auburn couldn’t get anything going on its first possession, but the defense stepped up when the Guardians got the ball. St. Peter-Marian quarterback Jalen Evans-Ashton got swarmed by the defense on third down, and Auburn defensive lineman Aaron Dyke recovered the fumble on the Guardians’ 19-yard line.
The offense took full advantage of the turnover. Fullback Bob Sivret took a handoff up the middle for a 5-yard touchdown, and then running back Tyler Desjardins converted the two-point conversion with a carry up the gut.
But St. Peter-Marian responded with its first score of the game. After a roughing the punter penalty on Auburn that gave the Guardians a first down, wide receiver Noah Burke hauled in a 35-yard touchdown pass.
Auburn finished the first quarter with a bang. Quarterback Drew Goodrich fooled the defense with a playaction fake, and tight end Tyler Simmons ended up wide open down the field. Goodrich threw him a 15-yard pass, and Simmons sprinted the rest of the way for a 60-yard touchdown. Desjardins battled up the middle for a two-point conversion to extend the lead to 16-6 for the final play of the first quarter.
“I think that our running game is so good that makes other teams worried about it,” Goodrich said. “So when we run the playaction, it opens up the field for us.”
But yet again, St. Peter-Marian responded with a score. After Goodrich threw an interception, the Guardians took advantage as wide receiver Tyis Boykin caught a 35-yard touchdown and wide receiver Zach O’Connor hauled in a pass for the two-point conversion, cutting Auburn’s lead to 16-14.
The fast-paced first half continued as Auburn running back Mark Wright took a handoff to the right for a 38-yard touchdown, extending the lead to 22-14.
Then the high-scoring and entertaining half ended after Sivret powered up the middle for a touchdown, padding Auburn’s lead to 28-14.
There was surprisingly no scoring in the third quarter, but the Guardians struck in the beginning of the fourth quarter to cut the lead to six points. Wide receiver Greg Moore grabbed a 5-yard touchdown, which was followed by a two-point conversion from Boykin, cutting Auburn’s lead to 28-22.
Then with 1:22 left, the Guardians had a critical fourth down that they needed to convert to stay alive. But Auburn’s defense stepped up, causing an incomplete pass to turn the ball over on downs.
Desjardins then put the cherry on top of the victory with a 41-yard touchdown with a minute left.
Auburn’s next game is on Saturday versus Millbury at 3 p.m.