Combine the strength of Region 7-2A and the structure of the AHSAA state playoffs and rematches are all assured.
The Central Red Devils have won the region championship three seasons in a row. And for the third season in a row, they will host a region opponent for a rematch in Round 2 of the state playoffs.
The Red Devils have had mixed success in the previous two rematches. They won in the regular season against Prattville in 2014, but then lost in the second round.
Central swept R.E. Lee last season but needed overtime to win the in the playoffs.
This year that opponent is Auburn. Central beat the Tigers 42-14 on Sept. 2. But since then, the Tigers have gone 7-1, including a 34-10 road win over Davidson in the first round of the state playoffs.
“Auburn has gotten a lot better. They are a better football team than they were earlier in the year,” Central coach Jamey DuBose said after last Friday’s rout of Murphy in the state playoff opener. “We are going to have to come play. We are going to have to bring our ‘A’ game.
“Right now Auburn is a hot team. They have won six or seven in a row. They beat Lee about seven weeks ago over at Lee. Auburn has probably got a lot of revenge in their heart.”
Central may be even hotter. The Red Devils have won nine straight since a season-opening loss to Hoover in the Champions Challenge on Aug. 19.
The Red Devils have allowed just 10 points in their last two games.
“We are Central, we are going to do what we do,” DuBose said. “We are going to play our game, not change anything and try to get back to the third round.”
Last season, DuBose led the Red Devils to the state semifinals before falling to McGill-Toolen.
Central is led by running back Jaxton Carson, who has 1,174 yards and 19 touchdowns. Quarterback Zion Webb has 1,362 yards passing with 13 touchdowns. He also has 836 yards rushing.
Michael Niziolek contributed to this report.