Two of the top football teams in the state will clash Friday when No. 3 Auburn High travels to face top-ranked Central-Phenix City with the Class 7A, Region 2 title on the line.
The Tigers (8-0) have lost five straight to the Red Devils (9-0) and will be trying to pick up their first win over the region foe since 2013.
"We’ve been waiting for this all season," said senior wide receiver Tommy Nesmith. We haven’t looked past any team, but we’ve been looking forward to this one. It’s going to be big game, but we’ve got to treat it like it’s just a normal game. We’ve just got to be prepared to play."
The Red Devils are the top-ranked team in the state for a reason, said AHS head coach Adam Winegarden.
"They’ve got a really good football team. I think they’re the most talented team in the state by far," he said. "Obviously, they execute well and they’re well-coached. They’re leading the state in scoring and they’re holding teams to very few points. Obviously, they’re got a dynamic football team."
Winegarden said he's told the team the game is just step nine in their season and it's about the Tigers improving as a football team and playing "our next best game."
"We have a lot respect for our opponents, and we have a lot of respect for Central and what they have, but it’s really about us playing our best, and that’s going to determine if we’re successful or not.
"Obviously, we’ve had some success this year, but we’re also a team that’s still growing and developing. This week, we’ve got to do the same — we’ve got to get better this week and prepare to play our next best game."
Winegarden added that he thinks the players' attitude and effort are the strengths of the Tigers' team.
"I think the strengths of our team are attitude and effort, just our team chemistry," he said. We work well together and being coachable, and I think that applies to us in all phases of the game. So we’ve got to play team football to have a chance to win."