By D. Mark Mitchell
During an appearance last week on my morming radio show “On the Mark,” Central High School’s Jamey Dubose seemed a bit concerned about playing Opelika at Bulldog Stadium last Friday night.
“Opelika is Opelika! Year in and year out, no high school in Alabama has better support, from the mayor to the police chief. The stadium will be packed and the jumbotron will be blaring Opelika hype videos. If you’re not careful, your guts will forget about playing the game,” Dubose said.
The game started like Dubose had anticipated, with the Opelika defense stopping the Red Devils on the opening possession, which included two Central penalties.
The Bulldogs battled, holding Central to 14 first-half points. A’Montae Spivey scored one of his three TDs, on a 41 yard run with 4:05 left in the first quarter. Joseph McKay scored the second Central touchdown on a one yard run with 2:10 in the first half. (Both PAT’s were good.)
The second half started badly for the Bulldogs.
Central drove 88 yards for a touchdown on the opening possession of the second half. Spivey scored on a two yard run with 9:32 left in the third quarter to extend their lead to 21-0.
Opelika’s offense could not sustain drives against the Red Devil defense, gaining fewer than 100 total yards. Central kept Quarterback Cade Blackmon on the move, constantly forcing him out of the pocket.
Spivey scored his third TD of the game on a 26-yard run with 2:49 left in the third quarter making the score 28-0.
Coach Jamey Dubose chose to run the football in the second half to keep the clock moving.
Opelika wide receiver Omar Holloway left the game and did not return after taking a hard lick on the game’s opening possession
OPELIKA OPEN THIS WEEK
Opelika enters a much needed off week following a 1-4 overall start and 1-1 mark in region play.
The Bulldogs will have a week off to prepare for the final four games of the regular season.
Despite being off to their worst start since 1980, Opelika can finish second in the region and host a first-round playoff game by winning their next three games.
Opelika plays Benjamin Russell Oct. 5 in Alexander City, at Calera Oct. 12 and home October 19 v. Stanhope Elmore at Bulldog Stadium.
Vigor, a non-region opponent, is the last game of the season.
The OHS freshman football team lost at Eufaula last week 26-21.
Trailing 7-0, Jarrell Stinson scored a touchdown on a 47-yard run. The ensuing PAT was no good.
The Tigers scored the second TD on a long pass play, missing the PAT, leaving the score 13-6.
Opelika went back to Stinson, who ran 88 yards for the score. Chuck Gagliano made the PAT to tie the game 13-13 at halftime.
Eufaula took a 20-13 lead in the third after scoring a touchdown on a long pass. Just like in the first half, Jarrell Stinson capped off an 80-yard drive with a 10-yard TD run.
The Bulldogs decided to go for the two-point play, which would give then the lead.
Jackson Bates tossed a desperation pass to Stinson for the two-point conversation.
Opelika led 21/20 for the first time.
Trailing by one with under four minutes, Eufaula converted two fourth downs on the drive and scored the game winning TD on 4th and 10.
Turn to B8 for more photos of Opelika’s game v. Central Friday night.
D. Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys state director and vice president of the A-O Sports Council.