Carver (Ala.) topped Auburn (Ala.) 46-20 when the schools squared off last season, handing the Tigers their only region-loss of the season. Each program found postseason success after grabbing the top two seeds out of Region 3, but would fall short in postseason rematches with Region 3’s Opelika. Auburn fell in the quarterfinals to the Bulldogs and Carver was eliminated in the semis.
This year plenty of talent dots each roster, and the teams come in with identical 4-1 records each wearing a region loss. The 2013 race in Region 3 appears much tighter this season and this matchup sets up playoff and seeding implications.
Leading the Carver offense is junior quarterback Mike McKenny, who is fresh off his best performance of the season. McKenny completed 19 of 33 passes for 271 yards and six touchdowns in a 50-21 win over Tri-Cities (Ga.) Friday. Tight end Charles Standberry is committed to Ole Miss and has hauled in five touchdowns this season. Standberry is joined by 3-star wideout Landy Capetillo, who has also caught five scores.
Defensively, Shaun Hamilton is a monster who has posted 31 solo tackles on the season. The Carver linebacker is committed to Alabama and stands 6-foot, 240 pounds. John Michael Edwards, a Southern Miss commitment, adds to Carver’s wealth of defensive size at 6-foot-4, 245 pounds. Safety Draequon Murphy is an Arkansas State-commit and has one of eight interceptions this season in a talented Wolverines secondary.
Auburn can match the talent at linebacker with Rashaan Evans and Darian Yancey anchoring the unit. Yancey is a Southern Miss-commit and Evans is the No. 6-ranked prospect in the state of Alabama. Cornerback Antreal Allen will challenge the Carver wideouts and has already hauled in a pair of interceptions this season.
Offensively, quarterback Bradley Northcutt and a list of playmakers pace the Tigers. Wideout Kyle Sikes is averaging close to 100 receiving yards per game, and Evans, James Askew and Tyus O’Neal El have all registered receiving touchdowns this season. The Tigers have plenty of ground game to work with and are averaging 214.2 rushing yards per game this season. In Auburn’s 16-13 win over Gadsden City (Ala.) last Friday, Tyus Flakes had 136 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown to pace the Tigers.