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Showdown at the Duck

AUBURN -- It’s a game loaded with college prospects between two top 10 teams on national television.

Foster is starring on defense and offense.

Friday night’s game between Auburn and Carver at Duck Samford Stadium has all the ingredients of a big-time game.

“It’s a great challenge for us, but it’s also one of those games that you dream about playing in and being a part of, so we’re excited about it,” Auburn coach Tim Carter said.

ESPNU will carry the game live nationally and an overflow crowd of close to 10,000 is expected. Auburn’s City Council passed a resolution this week declaring Friday as “All Auburn Blue Day” and is encouraging all citizens to wear royal blue in support of the Tigers.

“For our kids to have an opportunity to play on national television and for our community to be showcased in front of the nation, I think is a tremendous honor to say the least,” Auburn athletics director Clay McCall said.

“I know I’m biased, but when our fans get into the stadium wearing all of their blue and white, you’ve got our band playing, our cheerleaders cheering, our football team part of that atmosphere and everything that goes on with it, it’s one of the most exciting venues to be part of at the high school level.”

Auburn (5-0) is led by quarterback Cameron Echols-Luper, a Texas A&M commitment, who has passed and run for a combined 819 yards and 11 touchdowns.

The Tigers, ranked No. 3 in Class 6A in the latest ASWA poll, also feature linebacker Reuben Foster, an Auburn commitment, and a number of 2014 prospects including defensive end Rashaan Evans and athlete Blaise Taylor.

Foster, rated by 247Sports as the nation’s No. 1 inside linebacker, has 28 tackles and has rushed for six touchdowns this season.

Johnson is having a huge senior season.

Carver coach Billy Gresham has seen plenty of Echols-Luper and Foster studying the Tigers on film this week.

“Of course Reuben Foster with his size and his tenacious play,” Gresham said. “The quarterback, he makes plays with his feet. Both of them are great players, and they really stick out on film and really do a great job for their team. They’ve been doing a great job all year, and that’s why those guys are undefeated.”

Carver has plenty of weapons of its own, led by quarterback Jeremy Johnson, who is committed to Auburn. Johnson has completed 72-of-104 passes for 1,332 yards with 17 touchdowns and three interceptions. He has 31 carries for 319 yards and two touchdowns.

“Jeremy is probably the best passer we’ve seen in my seven years here as head coach,” Carter said. “He’s very disciplined in the pocket. He can scramble when he has to, but he doesn’t look to scramble. If we let him play 7-on-7, we’re in trouble.”

Carver, which is 4-1 on the season and ranked No. 7 in 6A, also has a number of junior prospects including linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton, athlete Draequan Murphy, an Arkansas State commit, and dangerous receiver Landy Capetillo.

“It’s a big game for us, a region game,” Gresham said. “It’s Carver and Auburn and there will be a lot of great players on the football field, great coaches and great for high school football. Everybody is excited about the competition and a great high school football team.”

The game is scheduled to kickoff Friday at 7 p.m. CT. Gates will open and tickets will be on sale starting at 4:30.

KEYS TO THE GAME

Auburn coach Tim Carter on what his Tigers need to do to win...

“We need to hang onto the football and create some turnovers. I think turnovers in a game like this -- because both teams are going to play at a really high level -- will be important because both offenses have the ability to score quick.

“The next thing we need to do is limit the big plays. It will be a game of momentum and the more we can make them fight and struggle for everything they get will be a big positive for us. Last but not least, we need to be very physical in this game and we need to make Johnson feel the presence of our rush. We’ve got to hurry him a little bit at times. I think we have ti mix it up -- show him some pressure and some different drops -- and whatever we can to limit their big-play ability.”

Carver coach Billy Gresham on what his Wolverines need to do to win...

“We need to start out fast. That’s the way we like to play football. We like to come out fast scoring points and getting stops early. We have to be able to run the football, of course, be able to execute on offense and be sound in the kicking game, and create some turnovers and stop the run on defense.”

***Stay tuned Friday night for full coverage from the Auburn-Carver game.

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