G.W. Carver’s first matchup against Auburn this season couldn’t have gone worse.
On homecoming night and on a televised broadcast, the Wolverines played their worst game of the season, muffing a punt at the 5-yard line, fumbling at their own 16, fumbling in the red zone, having a punt blocked and throwing an interception for a touchdown to ultimately put the game out of reach.
“With our young team, I thought the stage may have been too big for us,” Carver coach Billy Gresham said. “It was homecoming for us, it was the CSS game, it was Auburn and they were the No. 4 team in the state and we were No. 6. So, we learned a lot from that loss, and we’ve been doing pretty well lately.”
But to the Wolverines’ credit, after dropping a second region game in a row, they picked themselves up and had a sense of urgency that sparked a six-game winning streak.
Coming off of two blowout-victories in the playoff, Carver will have its chance at redemption when they head to Auburn for a rematch at 7 p.m. today, this time in the Class 6A quarterfinals.
“We really wanted another shot at these guys,” Carver running back Javontae Davidson said. “This game is going to be real personal because we felt like they came in our house and embarrassed us when it mattered most on television. So, we’re looking at getting back at those guys.”
Despite the myriad of mistakes by the Wolverines, Davidson was able to have his breakout game — running for 124 yards and a score — and emerged as the feature back.
On the other hand, four-star linebacker Shaun Hamilton had his toughest outing, tallying just four tackles as the Auburn offense did its best to avoid the Alabama commit.
Hamilton is determined to leave his mark on this game, and knows if Carver cuts down on the mistakes — and doesn’t fall victim to another 68-yard tipped pass that led to a score — the Wolverines will have as good a shot as any to exact some revenge.
“It just shows that every play is important,” Hamilton said. “Those two or three plays really changed the game, all those plays led to touchdowns. For those things to happen and for us to watch the film and see that, the score really didn’t show how close the game really was. It just shows us, when we come out and play hard and don’t make mistakes, there should be no reason that we don’t come out with the win.”
Hamilton is also looking to best his longtime friend and fellow four-star linebacker Rashaan Evans of Auburn. Evans had two sacks, two forced fumbles and three rushing touchdowns in the regular season matchup, but Hamilton has been looking forward to a rematch.
“We’ve been telling each other all playoffs, ‘If both of us get to Round 3, then it’s going to be on all over again,'” Hamilton said. “He got the edge the first time we played each other, but you better believe that I’m going to be busting my butt so at the end of the day I’m going to make sure that my team gets the ‘W.’ It’s going to be an intense game, and I’m going to make sure that not just me, but my whole team leaves 100 percent out on the field.”