By D. Mark Mitchell
First-year head football coach Caleb Ross finished his first regular season with a 7-3 record after beating Pelham 41-21 last Friday night at Bulldog Stadium.
The Bulldogs got off to a fast start, scoring 27 first-half points. The offense piled up 495 total yards, with 274 coming on the ground and 199 through the air. Quarterback Cade Blackmon was 17-of-20 for 211 yards. Malik Wilson rushed for 165 yards on 24 carries and Kani Kellum added 101 rushing yards on 14 carries.
The defense continued its dominant play, allowing only seven first-half points. Malichi Tatum led the defense with 18 tackles and Justin Lewis added 15 tackles and an interception.
Opelika has two weeks off before the playoffs begin, which will allow injured players to heal.
Opelika, Wetumpka and Benjamin Russell tied for the Region-3 Championship after each finished with a 5-1 record in region play. Based on a tie-breaker decided by the Alabama High School Athletic Association, Wetumpka will be the first seed, Benjamin Russell second and Opelika third.
This means the Bulldogs will travel to Daphne in the first round of the AHSAA 6A playoffs Nov. 10.
I will preview the Trojans next week.
The OMS seventh and eighth-grade football teams finished their season at Duck Samford Stadium against Auburn Junior High School.
The Auburn seventh-grade team avenged an earlier loss to OMS with a 20-12 win. Kaden Cooper and Octavious McClure each scored touchdowns.
The Bulldog eighth-grade defeated Auburn 27-8 to finish 8-0 overall. Jarrell Stinson rushed for 230 yards and four TDs behind his offensive line of Sean Luangkhot, Taylor Carswell, Kyler Mitchell, Skyler Frazier and Na’jee Johnson.
Charles Gagliano handled all kicking duties.
Defensively, Nick Zachary, Tylik Hambrick, Jackson Mcleod, Taylor Love, Jaden McGhee and Luke Murray led the way.
Congrats to Coach Jamie Ferguson, staff and players.
OPELIKA HIGH SCHOOL WINTER SPORTS
As football enters its postseason, winter sports are gearing up for games in the coming weeks.
The girls and boys basketball teams open their season in early November, as the girls will host Robert E. Lee Nov. 7 and boys travel to Prattville Nov. 9.
Both teams will play their first home game at the sports arena on campus Nov. 16 against Lafayette.
Coach John Wadsworth enters his 11th season as head coach while Devin Booth starts her 10th season.
Wrestling will host the’Red/Black Dawgs, Meet and Greet’ Nov. 16 at OHS. The first home match will be Nov. 30 against Carver, Benjamin Russell and Smiths Station.
Coach Davis is starting his fifth season.
D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president of the A-O Sports Council.