By D. Mark Mitchell
Sports Editor

The Opelika Bulldogs will start “fall” or “summer” practice Monday. It’s hard to call it “fall” when it’s 95-plus degrees out and about that much humidity. Coach Brian Blackmon is starting his fourth season as head coach and Athletic Director.

The Dawgs have 90-plus players who will start practicing for the season opener on Aug. 31 at Benjamin Russell in Alex City.

The coaches will be looking to find a starting quarterback, a running back, wide receivers and to solidify the offensive line. The defense has more experience than offense and special teams.

They will also have to find a deep snapper, a punter and a kicker.

OHS will be young, as you can tell, but should have a good team.

The schedule is tough with region foes Central, Smiths Station, Auburn and Carver along with a non-region game at Hoover. These teams almost always make the playoffs. The other two non-region games, at Benjamin Russell and a home game with Valley makes the OHS schedule one of toughest schedules in the state.

The Thursday game originally scheduled for Sept. 20 with Carver at Crampton Bowl has been moved to Saturday Sept. 22 because Alabama State has changed their game to Sept. 20 because ESPNU wants to put the game on TV.

The Opelika All-Sports Booster club will hold a “Meet the Bulldogs” event on Aug. 20, at Bulldog Stadium. The event is free and open to the public and will give the fans a chance to see the middle school teams, varsity football team, ninth grade football team, volleyball team, cross country team, cheerleaders and the band. Each of these groups will be introduced on the field.

You can join the Booster Club for $30, buy Opelika flags, signs, huggers, Opelika Under Armour polo shirts, t-shirts, stadium cushions and other Opelika items during the program.

If you join the Booster Club, you will receive an Opelika Bulldog car tag.

The corporate sponsor dinner will be held later in the school year. The All-Sports Booster board made this decision because we want to spread things out instead of cramming everything in during football season.

Season tickets will go on sale in August. Stay tuned for the dates and times.

The senior cheerleaders have been invited to march in this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. Coach Brandy Riddle will release more details later.

I want to thank the cheerleaders, Christy Milner, Emily Severin and the many people that help sell program ads. We have reached an all-time high in sales. Congratulations!


Opelika Dixie Boys All-Star Team Headed to World Series

The Opelika Dixie Boys All-Star team (14-year-olds) is heading to Covington, Ga., for the Dixie Boys World Series.

Opelika will represent Alabama and will wear uniforms with “Alabama” on their jersey. There are 11 states represented, along with the host team, Covington.

This will be the second trip to the World Series for this team. Last year, as 13 year olds, they finished third in the World Series.

Alabama (Opelika) will open up on Aug.4, at 6 p.m. vs. Mississippi.

The tournament is a double-elimination format and will end on Aug. 8.

You can hear all of the games on 97.7 KICKER FM where I will be broadcasting the games live.