Battle in Lee County

LaMichael Fanning

A high school game in Lee County Friday night will see a battle for a region championship with prospects on both teams including a commitment and several others prospects to keep a watchful eye.


Auburn High School (7-0; 5-0) will host Central Phenix City (7-0; 5-0), and the winner will take the region 3 crown and the top seed into the state play-offs. A victory would entitle the team to face no higher than a second seed in region 4 through the first two rounds of the play-offs.

Region 4 has only seven teams and between them they have a 3-16 record in games outside their district.

To simplify this, the loser of this game will probably see the three-time reigning champion, Prattville, in the second round of the play-offs while the winner could avoid them altogether if the Lions were to lose in the first two rounds or face them in the third round. Suffice to say this is a huge game for both schools this week.

Central Phenix City won their only championship in 1993 while Auburn looks to have their best chance to win their first title this season.

The Red Devils own the lead in the series with a 30-10-3 record, but the Tigers have won the last three meetings giving Coach Tim Carter a 3-0 record against Coach Ron Nelson's squad.

The game will be played at Auburn's Duck Samford Stadium, where Auburn has not lost since a playoff game against Prattville 24-13 in 2007. The Tigers are 12-0 at home and 19-1 on any field since that loss.

Auburn High School Head Coach Tim Carter talked about the game, their impressive start to the season and senior quarterback and University of South Alabama commitment, Calvin Jenkins.

"It will be a great game with both teams 7-0," Carter said. "We're real proud of our seniors. Calvin has made good decisions. We've been strong on the offensive line. The defense is doing a good job."

The defense has only allowed 37 points outside of the Smiths Station game and two of the last three games have been shut outs. They are also known for putting an offensive knock-out punch on the competition before the halftime buzzer.

Defensively, the Tigers employ former Auburn University and Ole Miss assistant coach Don Dunn on Carter's staff. Dunn, has been on the two collegiate staffs since 1995, but Carter is clear that Dunn has some good players to work with at Auburn High School.

"JaMichael Payne (Jr., 6-0, 295), Rodney Thomas (Sr., 6-1, 280), and LaMichael Fanning (Jr., 6-7, 275)."

Fanning has become a hot commodity during his junior season.

"He is a young guy that is getting better every day," Carter said. "He has a lot of God-given ability."

Fanning has offers from both in-state SEC schools, Auburn and Alabama, along with Georgia, South Carolina and Clemson just to name a few.

Pee-Wee Cobb (Sr., 6-1, 180) plays defensive back for the Tigers, and he already has five interceptions on the season.

"He is a great talent," Carter says. "He is a 4.46 guy with several offers and others that are staying in touch with him."

Offensive lineman John Hix (Sr. 6-2, 270) has offers to UAB and South Alabama and was named to the Alabama/Mississippi All-Star Classic roster last week along with Cobb.

Auburn High School has fast become a place that college coaches know recruits are well-coached before they ever step onto campus. Offensive lineman John Sullen is at Auburn University and has already started as a true freshman for the Tigers. Dee Finley is in his first year at the University of Florida. Dominique Reese at Georgia Tech and Richard and Brandon Ross are now at South Alabama.

Before this year's group follow in their foosteps to the next level, they have a few more games to win and that trek starts tonight against undefeated Central Phenix City.

Central Phenix City players to watch:

Senior quarterback Darren Daniel (6-3, 185) sat out last week favoring a rib injury while sophomore quarterback Jonathan Wallace (6-2, 195) stepped in admirably in a 35-14 win over Dothan.

Senior running back Deon Hill (6-0, 195) topped the 1,000 yard mark in the win over Dothan. He was also named to the All-Star Classic roster.

Yratings.com rates this game a 10-point win for Auburn, and that sounds reasonable with the home field advantage and the unknown quarterback situation for the Red Devils.

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