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 Central-Phenix City at Auburn | Friday - October 20, 2023 | Class 7A, Region 2 Game 

DB #4 Davis Smith (Auburn) running down a Hoover running back during Week #0

The #1 Central-Phenix City Red Devils will travel to face off with the #3 Auburn Tigers in a huge Class 7A, Region 2 game at Duck Samford Stadium on Friday night. If Central wins, they will win the region title, while Auburn will still need an additional win for the title. 

Both teams have wins over Dothan, JAG, Percy Julian, Enterprise, and Opelika. Central defeated Dothan 48-14, while Auburn defeated Dothan 28-27. Central defeated JAG 55-0, while Auburn defeated 46-0. Central defeated Percy Julian 35-6, while Auburn defeated Percy Julian 48-13. Central defeated Enterprise 48-7, while Auburn fell to Enterprise 17-16. Central defeated Opelika 28-18, while Auburn came away with a narrow 31-30 win over Opelika.

Central (7-0, 6-0) is coming off a 35-6 win over Percy Julian on Saturday afternoon at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery. The Red Devils have that seven-game winning streak going and look to keep it going on Friday night.

Central is averaging 44.7 points per game of offense. Junior quarterback Andrew Alford is having a huge season for the Red Devils. Alford has completed 96-of-147 passes for 1,863 yards with 25 touchdowns and two interceptions. Alford is in his first season with the Red Devils coming from Brookstone School in Columbus, Georgia. 

The Red Devils receiving core is one of the best in the Class 7A. Cam Coleman, Daylyn Upshaw, and Dylan Gentry are big-play receivers who can make a big play at any time on the field. Coleman, a Texas A&M commitment, has 30 receptions for 601 yards and 10 touchdowns on the season. Coleman can one-hand a catch, high-point a ball, or just blow by a defender on any play. The senior wide receiver is a top 10 consensus 2024 prospect. Upshaw has 29 receptions for 607 yards and eight touchdowns, while Gentry has 17 receptions for 329 yards and three touchdowns. Upshaw holds offers from Auburn, Cincinnati, Florida State, Penn State, Texas, and others. Look for this group to impose their talents in the Auburn secondary and could play a big role in the game.

The Central running game has a big 1-2 punch. Zack Simmons and Tristan Williams can break a long run at any time. Simmons has 481 yards on 73 carries & five touchdowns, while Williams has 448 yards and 27 carries and six touchdowns. Simmons is a Western Kentucky commitment. Williams is averaging a whopping 16.6 yards every time he runs the football. Williams has broken off some long touchdown runs, and when he hits the open field, he will not be caught with his speed.

The Central offensive line has Mal Waldrep, who received an offer from Alabama a week ago. Waldrep holds offers from Auburn, Georgia, Clemson, Colorado, Florida, Florida State, Kentucky, and many more. The junior right tackle is a good run blocker that can drive a defender off the line with the best of them. Waldrep has all the skills a lineman needs in intelligence, toughness, and work ethic.

The Central defense only gives up 9.9 points per game. Defensive lineman Isaia Faga leads the Red Devils defense. Faga, an Alabama commitment, has 35 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks on the season.

The Red Devils secondary has Jiquan Sanks and Rydarrius Morgan. Morgan leads the secondary with two interceptions on the season. Sanks is a Cincinnati commitment, while Morgan is an Alabama commitment.

Auburn (6-1, 4-1) is averaging 31.6 points per game and had to make a change at quarterback due to injury this season. Starter Jackson Kilgore started the season out, and the Tigers won a big road game against Hoover to start the season, but Kilgore was injured in the second game against a loss to Enterprise. Since the last two games, Mississippi State baseball commitment Henry Allen has stepped in to fill the starting quarterback role. Allen, one of the top baseball players in the state, wanted to play football his senior season. Max Hammer has been getting some snaps at the quarterback position. 

Allen will rely on two good running backs, Tyler Flakes and Omar Mabson. Flakes has 299 yards on 66 carries and three touchdowns, while super sophomore Mabson has 628 yards on 96 carries and eight touchdowns. 

The Tigers wide receiving core is very good. Ean Nation is one of the best in the state. Nation has 25 receptions for 264 yards and two touchdowns. Cody Palmer, Griffin McLean, and Tyler McKinnell will get opportunities in the passing game.

The Tigers defense is led by Wyatt Trexler. The senior linebacker has 58 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, and two sacks on the season. Defensive lineman Caleb Pitts is a good run-stuffer for the Tigers. Earlier this season, Pitts scored on a fumble, scoop, and score for an Auburn touchdown. 

The Auburn secondary of Davis Smith, Andrew Hahn, La’Mychael Gunn, and Jackson Mills will get tested Friday night. 

Auburn has the best kicker in Alabama. Towns McGough holds a 60-yard field goal against Auburn, and the Red Devils will have to start drives on their 20-yard line when they receive the football, as McGough will kick the ball out of the end zone each time. McGough holds offers from Auburn, Ole Miss, and Tennessee. 

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