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 Central-Phenix City 38, Auburn 17 Final | Friday - October 14, 2022 | Class 7A, Region 2 Game 

RB #1 Zack Simmons (Central-Phenix City) with the 1-yard touchdown run against Auburn Friday night

PHENIX CITY, Alabama - The #4 Central Phenix City Red Devils used a balanced offense to knock off the #1 Auburn Tigers 38-17 in a big Class 7A, Region 2 contest at Garrett-Harrison Stadium on Friday night. With the Red Devils getting the region win, they need a win over Prattville in Week #10 to win the region title. 

Central-Phenix City (7-2, 6-1) had 422 total yards on the night with 259 rushing yards and 163 passing yards and moved the ball around to their playmakers for most of the night. "We played really good. You have to play really good to beat a team like that," said Red Devils head coach Patrick Nix. "Probably the most complete game we have played this year. I'm proud of our team. We have worked hard to get here. Players have grown up, matured, and learned. We have to keep improving every day. We didn't win a state championship tonight. We have to get better and improve every day."

Central scored first in the game and used that balanced attack to get the score. A pass reception from Romello Green and AJ Harris set up the run to get the Red Devils score. With 8:25 left in the first quarter, Zack Simmons scored on a 1-yard touchdown run, and the Red Devils took a 7-0 lead. Central kept the pressure on late in the first quarter, and with only :37 seconds left in the quarter, Green ran through the Tiger's defense for a 40-yard touchdown run, and Central led 14-0. 

Auburn (7-1, 5-1) did good on keeping the ball away from Karmello English for most of the first half, but with only :30 seconds left in the half, Jaylen Epps found English in the back of the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown pass play for the Red Devils. With the score, Central led 21-0 right before halftime. Auburn ran three passing plays to get deep into Central territory before halftime, and as time expired, kicker Towns McGough kicked a 42-yard field goal to put Auburn on the scoreboard, but Central led 21-3.

Central came out of the locker room, established the momentum, and made a massive drive in the game. With 10:56 left in the third quarter, Epps scored on a quarterback keeper and raced 50-yards for the touchdown, and the Red Devils led 28-3 early in the second half. That was a big score for Central. 

Auburn responded with a score of their own when Tyler Flakes scored on a 34-yard touchdown run with 7:57 left in the third quarter. With the score, the Tigers cut the Red Devils' lead to 28-10. Central took the ball, drove down the field, and had to settle for a Charles Paul 36-yard field goal. With the score, Central led 31-10 late in the third quarter. 

The Central defense played well for most of the night, and defensive back Quintavious Billingsley closed the game with Auburn driving early in the fourth quarter. Billingsley picked off an Auburn pass at the 15-yard line and raced 85 yards for a Red Devils touchdown. With the score, Central took a 38-10 lead that Auburn would not recover from. 

Auburn drove right down the field on their next possession, and with 10:36 left in the game, Clyde Pittman found Marcellus Josephson in the end zone for a touchdown. With the score, Auburn still trailed 38-17. Central ran out the clock in the fourth quarter with some big runs by Epps and Green that kept the ball to the Red Devils' offense.

Epps completed 12-of-16 passing for 163 yards and a touchdown, while Green rushed for 106 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown. English led had three receptions for 53 yards and a touchdown. The Central defense created three turnovers in the game, which was significant. "We didn't quit, but a couple of turnovers got them ahead where we had to play behind the whole time," said Tigers head coach Keith Etheredge. 

Next, Auburn will travel to Prattville, while Central has an open date next week.

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