Saturday, October 29, 2016

Grafton Blows Out Auburn for Top Seed in D3 Central

By Connor Evans (@RonnocEvans)

GRAFTON, Mass. -Heading into the final weekend of the regular season, undefeated Grafton hosting fellow unbeaten Auburn looked, at least on paper, like a game that would go down to the wire. The paperwork lied though, and Grafton won 34-0 as Auburn came out flat.

Dominant Defense

Headlining this game was Grafton’s defense. Holy cow, they came to play.

Three interceptions from Jack and Brady Fontana, and Ethan Farrah, a fumble recovery, a defensive touchdown (from Farrah), six forced punts, and zero points allowed.

Talk about stifling.

If teams still think it’s only Grafton’s high-octane offense they need to worry about, think again. It really doesn’t get much better than this unit. At the end of three quarters, the defense had allowed 63 total yards of offense. Auburn would double these yards in the fourth quarter, but most of it came on one single deep pass play from Coleson Hammond to Zukudo Igwenagu (it was a great play by the two of them).

By the end of the game, however, Grafton had allowed just 3 pass completions on 19 attempts. That’s an interception for every completion. They allowed 72 yards on the ground on 35 attempts. That’s barely over 2 yards per run. Oh yeah, and these guys just won their 8th straight game, locked up the top seed in Division 3 Central, and ended Auburn’s 13-game winning streak.

They’re good.

Sonnett the Hedgehog

If I bet you yesterday that Grafton would shut out Auburn, I’d currently be on vacation somewhere nice. If I bet you that a sophomore named Jackson Sonnett would gain more yards from scrimmage than Ifeatu Melifonwu and the rest of Grafton’s offense COMBINED, all while picking up a pair of TDs, you would currently be handing me the keys to your car… and maybe your house.

Seriously though, props to this young man. Sonnett got his number called today, big time, and he delivered. Shortly after he decided to sprint past everyone on a 45-yard touchdown off a fake punt in the second quarter, he said “why not do it again” (probably). Just a few plays later he was taking a toss right side, and I guess I must have blinked, because next thing I know we are all looking at the back of his jersey in the end zone.

85 yards. Gone.

As if Melifonwu/Harrington/Farrah aren’t scary enough in this backfield, now this other guy’s got wheels too? Watch out CMass playoffs.

The Takeaway for Auburn

It happened to Leominster last week at St. John’s. It happened to the Rockets this week at Grafton. Sometimes the ball just doesn’t bounce your way. From near-catch drops, to tipped passes being picked off, to unfortunate field position, Auburn just drew the short straw in this one. Listen here, no one thinks this team could lose 34-0 to Grafton. Not again anyway.

This was just one of those days.

So look, Auburn, you’ve just had your first loss of the season. You now get a chance to win a game and then see the team that just beat you again in the playoffs. Grafton has provided you with an opportunity to come back and give us all a little bit of that football comeback drama we love. It’s up to you, whether you take it or leave it.

The Takeaway for Grafton

These guys have worked their butts off and it’s gotten them to 8-0. That’s great and all, but it’s a new season now. In playoffs, everyone is 0-0. Time to look at this new season and do it again. The Indians have the top seed and that means all eyes are on them. Everyone is going to want a shot at No. 1.

Head Coach Chris McMahon would say after the game, “it’s going to be tough. The four teams in our division— they’re going to be good. We know whoever we play, it’s going to be a tough, tough grind. We are going to be ready for it though.”

Overall, tonight’s win meant a lot for the program. Auburn has had Grafton’s number over the years, so to cap off the season with a big win over them definitely meant a lot to the team.

“They have some really talented kids," McMahon would say after the game. “It was a tremendous effort by our defense tonight.”

Player of the evening, Jackson Sonnett, would add, “the whole game was awesome. The offensive line was fantastic. I did my part, but they did a lot of it for me. Our defense? We’re nasty. I wouldn’t want to do this with anybody else.”

Senior Captain Jack Fontana would later take pride in making program history.

“This win means a lot," Fontana said. "8-0 has never been done in Grafton history. This feels amazing. I can’t wait to get back to Doyle field. (where the Indians’ season ended in the semi-finals last year) I can’t wait to finish this one.”

Of course I asked one more question of the Grafton Captain- “Any Nerves?”

1 comment :

Aleke Msumba said...

Nice piece of writing Connor. The Grafton boys and coaching staff should be very proud of their regular season record - especially
as a function and direct correlation to all of their off season and off field preparation. The Grafton community wishes Coach McMahon and
the boys the best in the playoffs.