Auburn High has been turning back the clock by grinding out yards behind its powerful running attack.
Friday’s 17-3 win at Prattville would have made Ohio State coaching legend Woody Hayes, who coined the phrase ‘three yards and a cloud of dust,’ smile. Linebacker-turned-running back Aaron Diggs led the Auburn (6-2, 4-1) effort with 213 rushing yards on 38 carries.
On the flipside, the Tiger defense held the Prattville offense to just eight total rushing yards.
Prattville (6-2, 3-2) got off to a strong start defensively, forcing a Matthew Caldwell interception on his first pass, but a fumble on the return gave the ball back to the Tigers with a fresh set of downs.
The Tigers immediately went to the ground game and Diggs powered the offense down the field.
Auburn coach Adam Winegarden also reached into his bag of tricks with a fake punt and Matthew Rhodes found Diggs for a first down.
The drive was capped with a field goal by Josh Owsley and Auburn took a 3-0 lead with 3:30 left in the first quarter.
Auburn ran 20 offensive plays before it allowed Prattville to take its first snap. The Lion offense came out with a very different look to the old-school approach on the Tiger sideline.
Prattville quarterback Kyle Kramer found tight end Taylor Thompson on a 50-yard passing play on the Lions’ third offensive snap. The Auburn defense established its first-half trend of bending, but not breaking by forcing a field goal attempt, which Prattville missed.
The Tiger offense quickly got back to what worked with Diggs and sprinkled in some quarterback-run game with Caldwell. The Tigers worked the ball back into the red zone, and this time, the passing game was able to convert for six.
Caldwell scrambled on a third-and-goal from the seven and found senior Billy Meadows III for a touchdown and a 10-0 lead with 5:24 left in the first half.
The Lion offense went back to work through the air, but a big third-down sack by Orlando Dean forced another field goal attempt and another field goal missed.
Auburn tried another trick-play, but Meadows’ pass back to Caldwell was intercepted with 39 seconds left in the half.
The Auburn defense bowed its neck once more as Prattville took over at Tiger 28. It forced a field goal attempt and despite an Auburn timeout that negated one missed field goal, Prattville missed a second time and a fourth time in the half.
The defenses continued their strong play in third quarter as Auburn’s Noah Warren ended Prattville’s first drive of the quarter with an interception.
Fumbles on consecutive possessions for the Tigers — a bad snap and a botched punt return — set the Prattville offense up to finally get on the board with a field goal with 2:05 to go in the third quarter.
The defenses continued to shine until Auburn was able to put the game away behind Diggs’ running. The senior capped the drive with an 8-yard touchdown run with 3:10 left on the clock to seal the 14-point victory.
The Tigers will play for the region title next Friday when they host Central-Phenix City (8-1, 5-0) at Duck Samford Stadium.
Auburn 17, Prattville 3
A — 3 7 0 7 17
S — 0 0 3 0 3
A — Josh Owsley 27-yd FG; 3:30
A — Billy Meadows 7-yd pass from Matthew Caldwell (XP good); 5:24
P — 32-yard FG; 2:05
A — Aaron Diggs 8-yd run (XP good); 3:10