By D. Mark Mitchell
Opelika (3-1, 1-0 in region) opened region play with a victory Friday night, defeating Chilton County 41-14 in Clanton.
The Dawgs started sophomore Brody Davis at quarterback after Cade Blackmon injured his ankle against Carver Sept. 8. Davis guided Opelika to a 28-0 halftime lead.
Jorden Heard caught two passes for touchdowns. The Bulldogs scored four rushing TDs in the game. Brantan Barnett accounted for three of the rushing scores, and teammate Kani Kellum added the other.
Tyler Sellers was a perfect 5-for-5 on PATs in the game. Dalton Cooper missed the last extra-point attempt.
The Dawg defense continued their tough play, with the first-team unit not allowing a point. Chilton County managed to score after the first unit was taken out.
Opelika travels to Alex City Friday night for a region game against Benjamin Russell.
The Bulldogs play Region rival Benjamin Russell (3-0, 2-0 in region) Friday night at the Charles Bailey Sportsplex in Alex City.
The Wildcats have two region wins over Pelham (35-28) and Chelsea (27-0). BRHS opened the season with a 28-14 victory against non-region opponent Central-Clay County.
Benjamin Russell leads the series 36-32-3, but Opelika has won four in a row and 9 out of the last 10 games.
Benjamin Russell has only beaten Opelika twice since 1998. However, there was a hiatus from 2006-2011.
BRHS is led by Coach Danny Horn, a member of the AHSAA Hall of Fame. He is 58-39 since becoming the Wildcat’s head coach in 2009.
This is a huge game for both teams, with the loser being practically eliminated from winning the region championship.
Coach Caleb Ross will have Opelika ready to play.
The Bulldogs need to continue playing tough defense, make no special team mistakes and be unpredictable on offense.
Injuries continue to mount for Opelika. as C.J. Jordan was injured during the Chilton County game and taken by ambulance to a hospital in Clanton. The senior suffered a concussion and is not available for Friday’s game. Quarterback Cade Blackmon also will not dress Friday.
Previously injured players, Conner Smith and Malik Wilson are expected to play this week. Coach Ross said he has never experienced the number of injuries during his coaching profession
The Wildcats have the home-field advantage and will use this to help win the game.
OHS must remain calm and prepare for an emotional Benjamin Russell football team.
A win over Opelika would make the Wildcat’s season.
Look for Opelika to win a tough, close game Friday night.
Fans can listen to the Opelika vs Benjamin Russell football game on WKKR, 97.7 Kicker FM and online at kickerfm.com. The Coach Ross Pregame Show starts at 6:30 p.m. with kickoff set for 7.
You can also hear Coach Ross after the game, during the live post game show.
OPELIKA MIDDLE SCHOOL FOOTBALL HOSTS AUBURN
The OMS seventh and eighth-grade football teams host AJHS Thursday night at Bulldog Stadium. The seventh grade starts at 5 pm. The eighth graders will start 30 minutes after the conclusion of the seventh-grade game.
Opelika Volleyball team split matches last week. The girls beat Smiths Station 2-0.
Imani Debrow served well and teammates Makai Gagliano and Mattrice Harris were strong at the net. OHS lost to Harris County 0-2. The Lady Bulldog volleyball team is 2-1 overall.
OHS hosted Beauregard Tuesday night. The results were not available at press time.
The Orthopaedic Clinic provides services to Opelika High School. The clinic pays for two trainers to cover OHS and OMS Athletics.
Dr Trent Wilson, OHS’s team doctor, attends every game. Clinic administrator Terry Rosenthal attends most games. You cannot put a price tag on having this type of medical care on the sideline.
D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president of the A-O Sports Council.