For the sixth season in a row, Central High has claimed the Region 2 title under coach Jamey DuBose. Well, the Red Devils have claimed a share of the title at this point and can win it outright with a victory over Auburn High tomorrow night at Duck Samford Stadium. And, with that victory would be the assurance that the Red Devils will not leave the confines of Garrett-Harrison Stadium during the first three rounds of the Class 7A playoffs just like last season.
However, a loss to Auburn would give the Tigers the same benefits through the first three rounds.
“I guess we have earned a share of the title with our win tonight, but I don’t want us to share it. I want us to win it outright so that we won’t leave home in the playoffs until the state title. Our goal is to play one more game on the road after Auburn in four weeks,” DuBose said after his team scored five third quarter touchdowns to break open a 14-6 halftime lead for a 49-6 victory over Jeff Davis High.
“It comes down to us and Auburn again. It is like last year when we had to decide things in the last regular season game. I haven’t watched them much since early in the year. But, I know they have a good defense with some playmakers over there. We have to play a sound football game and not make turnovers. If we do, Auburn will take advantage of them. We are going to start working tomorrow (last Saturday) to find a way to get away from up there with a win.”
Central is 5-0 in Region 2 with one game to play. Auburn is 4-1 in the region with one game to play. A win by either team will decide which team will receive the top seed from Region 2. The loser will be the No. 2 seed and play at home in the first round. Prattville, which lost to Central and Auburn, will take third place. The final playoff spot will go to R.E. Lee or Enterprise. If R.E. Lee and Enterprise tie, Enterprise gets the final spot because it defeated the Generals in head to head play.
The Red Devils have not played their best football the past two weeks in wins over R.E. Lee and Jeff Davis. In both games, Central had narrow halftime leads 25-20 versus the Generals and 14-6 last week against the Volunteers. It took good second half play to pull away from its opponents.
In last week’s victory, Central started pulling away on the scoreboard with its first possession of the second half. The Red Devils went 54 yards in eight plays to take a 21-6 lead with a 1-yard touchdown run by Joseph McKay with 8:49 left in the third quarter.
Central made it 28-6 when Jon Stephens scored from a yard out with 6:25 left in the third quarter after the Red Devils tackled the Jeff Davis punter at the 1-yard line on a high snap.
Then Central scored three touchdowns in a flurry – 21 points to close out the game’s scoring in a minute and 32 seconds.
First, Dexter Wright scored on a 7-yard run with 4:24 to play in the third quarter following another miscue on a Volunteers’ punt attempt that was blocked and gave Central the ball at the Jeff Davis 14. Four seconds later, Central recovered the ensuing kickoff at the Jeff Davis 29. Tucker Melton connected with EJ Williams for a 29-yard pass and run for a touchdown with 4:08 on the clock. And finally, on Jeff Davis’ first play following the kickoff, Jaylin Robinson got a pick six on an interception return of 20 yards with 2:52 left in the quarter. With Noah Pell perfect on all seven of his extra point kicks for the night, Central led 49-6 and the final quarter was played under a running clock.
Central had three turnovers in the first half that hampered the offense from putting the game away early. A 49-yard fumble return accounted for Jeff Davis’ lone points.
Central fumbled away its first possession at the Jeff Davis 18. It came back with its second possession and drove 42 yards in seven plays to take a 7-0 lead on a 2-yard touchdown pass from Melton to Williams with 5:01 left in the first quarter.
The Red Devils then went 86 yards in eight plays to take a 14-0 lead on 6-yard touchdown run by Zion Morris with 10:23 left in the half.
The next three Central possessions ended on downs at the Jeff Davis 23, a fumble at its 49 and an interception at the Volunteers’ 48.
Central totaled 397 yards for the night – 237 running the ball and 160 passing. Melton completed 13 of 19 passes for 160 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. McKay led the Central runners with 73 yards on eight carries with a touchdown. Williams had four catches for 59 yards with two touchdowns.
Central will be on the road to close out the regular season at Auburn tomorrow night. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET.