The second round of high school football playoffs will get underway Friday as teams from around the area are inching closer to Tuscaloosa in the hopes that they can bring home a championship.
Seeking its first ever championship in school history will be the Auburn High Tigers, who took care of Baker High School last Friday in a 39-3 rout. It was the first time the two teams had ever met.
The Tigers opened the game strong, scoring a touchdown on the legs of JT Rogers with just under 10 minutes left in the first quarter to give Auburn the early lead. Baker’s Peyton Engel would later kick a field goal to cut Auburn’s lead to four. It would be Baker’s only score of the night.
The second quarter likewise saw two scores — this time though they were both in the Tigers' favor. Quay Ross caught a 29-yard pass from quarterback Matthew Caldwell with under two minutes left to play in the half. Auburn would get the ball back and score another touchdown on a Caldwell to Ross pass, this one from 11-yards out with 11 seconds left in the second quarter. The Tigers would lead 21-3 at the half.
The third-quarter would remain a low-scoring affair as both defenses held strong before Auburn’s Creighton Williams broke the deadlock with a five-yard touchdown pass from Caldwell midway through the third.
The final quarter of the game saw more dominance from the Tigers as they scored two more touchdowns. The first came on an eight-yard pass from Caldwell to Quay Nelms and the second was a 12-yard carry by Rogers. The extra-point on the latter touchdown was missed, making the final score 39-3. The game allowed Caldwell to tie the school record for passing touchdowns in a season at 18.
“I think we took a little bit to get going but once we did I thought we played great,” said head coach Adam Winegarden. “I’m really proud of our guys.”
While Auburn certainly took time to celebrate the win, it wasn’t for long as their next opponent is right around the corner. This Friday they will face off against the Daphne High Trojans, who are on a seven-game winning streak. Daphne comes into the game 10-1 finishing second in Region 1.
“They are very explosive. They have a lot of weapons who can stretch the field,” said Winegarden. “Defensively, we just need to control the line of scrimmage and the offense needs to dictate the tempo.”
Auburn comes into the game 10-1 after winning the Region 2 championship. Last week’s win ensured that for a third season in a row that the Tigers have finished with double-digit wins.
The Tigers have scored an average of 30.6 on the season while Daphne’s defense has allowed only an average of 15.5 points per game. On offense ,Daphne is averaging 36.8 points per game but the Tigers' defense has only allowed an average of 12.2 points per game.
Playoffs bring out the best in every team and this Auburn team is trying to prove that they are the best team in the state. The Tigers' quest their first state championship would get another boost with a win Friday night.
Auburn will host Daphne at Duck Samford Stadium Friday night, with kickoff set for 7 p.m.