The Auburn High Tigers narrowly escaped defeat at the hands of their rival, Opelika, last Friday and will hit the road for a region showdown against Prattville on Friday.
“The atmosphere was great, they did a great job and our kids found a way to win,” said Auburn head coach Keith Etheredge. "We put ourselves in good positions all night; we just have to capitalize on those opportunities. We missed a few but we will get better. I thought our effort and attitude was great. We made plays when we needed to make them.”
It was a close game all night, with the Tigers striking first as quarterback Clyde Pittman threw a seven-yard pass to Camden Etheredge. Neither team would score again until the second quarter when kicker Josh Owsley booted a 51-yard field goal to put the Tigers up by 10. Opelika would respond with a touchdown of its own before the half.
The second half saw Davaioun Williams make a five-yard run but the extra point was missed. Both defenses held their ground for most of the rest of the game as there was only one more score — a three-yard run by Opelika’s Jarell Stinson late in the fourth quarter. The Tigers staved off the Bulldogs in the final minutes of the game and came out with a rivalry win.
“I thought our defense did great," Etheredge said. "We had a couple of assignments missed but we played great for four quarters and put pressure on the quarterback, causing turnovers although some bounced right back to them.
“We will get better and better as they gain experience.”
While Auburn certainly took time to celebrate the win, it wasn’t for long as the Tigers next opponent is right around the corner. This Friday, Auburn will travel to face the Prattville Lions, who are also undefeated. The Lions are coming off two wins, a 41-13 victory over Wetumpka and a 29-6 win over Stanhope Elmore last week.
“They are very athletic," Etheredge said. "They have two good quarterbacks and do a good job of getting to the ball. We need to continue to work hard and spread the ball around on offense and make them tackle our guys in space.”
Auburn comes into the game 2-0 as well, with wins over Park Crossing 45-0 and Opelika 16-14. While Auburn may be undefeated so far, the Tigers' first-year head coach knows that his team still has plenty to work on.
“We have to start capitalizing on opportunities," he said. "We have been in situations where we could have put up points but we didn’t. We make a great play and then there's a negative so that needs to be corrected.”
The Tigers’ defense has been the name of the game so far, and if Opelika wasn’t a good measuring stick as to how good this Auburn team is, Prattville is guaranteed to be. This Auburn team has seven players with potential college offers, and that speaks for itself. However, it takes a team to win a championship and the road to the championship passes through Prattville.
Prattville will host Auburn at Stanley-Jensen Stadium on Friday night, with kickoff set for 7 p.m.
“We feel like our kids are playing hard,” said Etheredge. “We need to continue that and that will get us better and better as the season goes on.”