MOBILE — McGill-Toolen coach Earnest Hill knew this week his team had to find a way to stop Auburn running back Aaron Diggs in the Class 7A quarterfinals Friday night.
The top-ranked Yellow Jackets are still looking for answers.
The 5-foot-10, 200-pound Diggs ran for 200 yards and three touchdowns as the 10th-ranked Tigers rolled over McGill-Toolen 26-0 at Archbishop Lipscomb Stadium. It is the first time Auburn has advanced past the second round of the playoffs since 2013.
“I thought we played a great football game on both sides of the ball,” Tigers’ coach Adam Winegarden said. “I’m proud of the kids. We played a consistent four quarters tonight.”
Diggs and his big offensive line were one of the main reasons for that. He carried it a workman-like 42 times. He was caught for a loss just one time and only had three runs longer than 10 yards as the Tigers dominated the time of possession.
“We knew what we had to do tonight,” said Diggs, a Coastal Carolina commit who was moved from defense earlier this season to spark the Auburn offense. “Everyone blocked great, and I just took advantage of what they gave me.”
Diggs scored on runs of nine, two and one yard. Killian Massey scored the final touchdown of the night on a four-yard run in the final two minutes. Auburn led 14-0 at the half. The Tigers attempted just three passes in the game — the last of which came early in the second quarter.
“Size was the difference,” Hill said. “We’ve been small up front all year, and it finally caught up with us. They had a big offensive line and were coming off the ball. They outnumbered us. Aaron Diggs is a good running back. He ran it hard. One guy couldn’t get him down.”
Meanwhile, the Auburn defense was dominating as well. The Tigers held McGill to just 98 total yards and six first downs. The Yellow Jackets ran just three plays in the final quarter, losing fumbles on an Auburn punt and a kickoff.
“Our defense prepared hard all week,” Winegarden said. “Coach (Patrick Plott) I think is the top defensive coordinator in the state of Alabama. He does a great job. I thought we established the line of scrimmage and forced them into some long-yardage downs.”
Auburn finished with 223 total yards — 220 on the ground. With just 15 combined passes attempted, the game lasted just an hour and 52 minutes.
The Tigers (9-3) will play defending state champion Central Phenix-City (11-1) in the Class 7A semifinals next week. The Red Devils advanced with a 24-6 win over Prattville on Friday night. Central beat Auburn 34-7 on Oct. 25.
McGill-Toolen finishes the season 11-1.