The Central Phenix City defense held off a late scoring attempt by Auburn after an onside kick recovery to defeat the Tigers 34-28 Friday night at Duck Samford Stadium in Auburn.
Down 21-14 at half, Central charged back in the second half behind three A’montae Spivey touchdown runs. Spivey ripped off a 43 yard run early in the third period to tie the score at 21-21. With 3:15 left in the quarter, Spivey busted the biggest play of the night, a 79 yard TD run to give the Red Devils the lead at 28-21. His next touchdown run from 20 yards out halfway through the fourth quarter gave Central its biggest lead of the night at 35-21, but this lead was anything but comfortable.
“He made some plays on his own tonight,” Central Coach Jamey DuBose said of Spivey. “There were situations where we just plain out missed blocks on the perimeter. He made guys miss and then he was able to break and use his speed. He made some really good runs on reads up front on the inside zone. I was real proud of him.”
Central had opened the game fast. After stopping Auburn on the first Tiger possession of the game, Central quarterback Peter Parrish and the Red Devil offense drove down for the first score of the game on a Parrish 14 yard scamper. Parrish was impressive in the first half, running and throwing for 143 yards. Auburn responded with an 81 yard drive behind quarterback Brooks Fuller and RB Jay Walker. Walker scored from 36 yards out and when Avery Atkins kicked the extra point, the Tigers had evened the game at 7-7.
About three minutes later, Fuller spotted JaMarcus Knight on a screen pass and Knight took it 30 yards for a score to give Auburn a 14-7 lead. “Sometimes you just need to get hit in the mouth,” Central head coach Jamey DuBose said. “We did tonight. I know that was going to happen.” But Parrish responded for Central in the wild first quarter. Running and throwing for 73 yards on the drive, Spivey scored his first of four TDs on the night to cap off the drive and knot the score at 14-14 on the last play of the first stanza.
The defenses got into the game in the second quarter. The Tigers did drive 95 yards as the first half ended. Fuller hit Trey Elston on a 6 yard touchdown pass with 5 seconds left to give Auburn the 21-14 lead going into the dressing rooms at halftime.
Spivey’s three unanswered scores gave Central the momentum in the fourth quarter. But Auburn had no quit in them. Down two touchdowns, Auburn managed to drive 91 yards and score with 1:55 left in the game when Fuller threw his third TD pass of the night. Knight snagged the toss from 18 yards out to cut the lead to 35-28. After the onside kick recovery, the Red Devil defense held Auburn in the last two minutes to secure the victory.
“Auburn’s got a very good football team; they’re physical, they’re well coached, they’re disciplined. It’s a playoff team. They’re going to do well this year,” Dubose said after the game. “When you play a good team you’re going to find things that you need to work on. We need that. I’m just proud we survived tonight and proud we got a win, and we’ll move on to the next one.”
Both teams showed that they are ready to make playoff runs this year in Class 7A.