Gone are the Massachusetts high school Super Bowls, but that won’t stop Auburn from pursuing another championship title on December 7. Auburn High School hosts Western Mass Suburban League opponent Chicopee Comprehensive in the season opener this Friday at 7pm at AHS.
Gone, too, are 21 of 22 senior starters from last season’s Super Bowl team. But for the Rockets, reloading is a better description than rebuilding for the 2013 season. Auburn head coach Jeff Cormier says the Rockets have talent. “They’re getting better day by day. They have done a good job coming together and starting to gel.”
While a lot of less familiar names will be called from the brand new AHS press box, most players are not new to the Rockets’ system. They have just been playing behind a group of players who lost one game in their entire high school football career. “The effort has been really good” noted Cormier. “Kids have had to change positions, take on new roles, and they have done a great job adapting.”
Cormier is also impressed by the Rockets offense. “Our passing game is promising. They are actually throwing the ball a lot better than I expected.” Auburn is traditionally a run heavy offense, so adding a potent passing game will spell trouble for opponents.
For 2013 the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) eliminated the 16 regional and divisional Super Bowls and replaced them with a playoff system. Auburn has been placed in division 5 in the 2013-2017 divisional alignments from the MIAA. In the new system, teams will be power ranked after 7 weeks, and placed into a 3 week playoff bracket. Thanksgiving Day games will continue uninterrupted against traditional opponents and do not factor into playoff standings.
Unfortunately, Auburn’s traditional opponent – Oxford – has dropped the game. Auburn will begin a new tradition against Northeast Metro Tech in Wakefield, MA. The championship games for all 6 divisions are scheduled December 7 at Gillette Stadium.
The first test comes this Friday against Chicopee Comp. The Colts and the Rockets last met in 2006 in the Division 2A Super Bowl. Auburn dropped that battle 8-2 and it was the last game Auburn would lose until 2011, a record-breaking 41 game winning streak including 4 Super Bowl wins.
Comp had been muddling through some rough seasons until halfway through last year’s schedule. Comp went on a 6 game run before losing a a nail biter to Longmeadow in the Western Mass Division I playoffs.
“They have a highly respected coaching staff” comments Auburn coach Cormier. “Comp is known for being tough and physical. They like to pound the football. I’d rather have played them toward the end of the season, but that’s how it worked out. We’ll have our hands full early.”
The pundits seem to think the Rockets can handle the pressure, though. Auburn is at or near the top of every state ranking including ESPN Boston and MaxPreps. ESPN Boston high school football analyst Brendan Hall has chosen Auburn as the favorite to take the division 5 championship. The one thing for sure is that Auburn is in for another exciting season of football.