On the first play of the third quarter in Friday’s Del Rey League opener, St. Anthony senior running back Sone Aupiu ran into two defenders near the line of scrimmage.
However, Aupiu didn’t go down and instead bounced off to the right side where he broke more tackles and gave out a couple of stiff arms en route to a 67-yard touchdown run to give the Saints (4-3, 1-0) a 14-7 lead over La Salle at St. Pius- X St. Matthias Academy.
Already entering the contest with over 600 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns in his last two games, Aupiu continued his torrid streak with 233 rushing yards and three touchdowns in the Saints’ 35-21 victory.
“He is different,” Saints coach Raul Lara said. “He is a difference maker and defenders can’t bring him down. He is so powerful.”
Aupiu, who left late in the third quarter and was seen on the sideline with ice around both ankles, said he was “banged up” but gave all the credit to his lineman for his performance.
The win was St. Anthony’s fourth in a row but Lara said he was hoping to rest some of his players against the winless Lancers (0-5, 0-1) but that wasn’t the case as La Salle battled all night long.
“We fought through adversary,” Lara said. “They pushed us and kept up the intensity and we made some mistakes.”
Early on, both teams had drives stall and were unable to convert on fourth down.
After sophomore Mauricio Pavon intercepted a pass, Lancers junior quarterback Richie Munoz connected with senior Matthew Gamble for eight yards and a touchdown to give La Salle a 7-0 lead with 35 seconds left in the first quarter.
Aupiu had a 30-yard run on St. Anthony’s next possession and a few players later, he scored on a 4-yard run to tie the game at 7 with a little less than 10 minutes remaining in the half.
Aupiu had an interception later in the quarter and the game remained tied at half.
After his second rushing touchdown, Aupiu had yet another long run (38 yards) and scored his third touchdown on a 10-yard carry to give the Saints a 21-7 lead with 6:52 left in the third.
Senior running back Angelo Godoy had a seven-yard touchdown run to cut the Saints’ lead to seven with 9:45 left in the game but St. Anthony senior running back Anakin Aupiu scored on a 35-yard run to push the lead to double-digits with 4 minutes left and put the game away.
“We need four wins to win league,” Lara said. “We are taking it one game at a time.”
Aupiu said he was hopefully going to take some time off next week to heal.
St. Anthony is at Mary Star of the Sea at 3 p.m. next Friday.