By D. Mark Mitchell
Sports Editor

Indoor Track

The girls and boys indoor track teams participated in the “Ice Breaker Invitational” at Hoover this past weekend where 120 teams participated in the meet. The OHS boys finished 13th while the girls placed 17th. Way to go, gents and ladies!

The top performers were JaKayla Hand, Natalie Jordan, Kala Spinks, Miyah Grimmett, Briahna Lockhart, Nate Huggins, Jaquavious Tolbert, Vontrell Hunter, Chase Baker and Ryan Jordan.

The following athletes scored personal best and contributed to their team’s total score:

Britney Johnson: 60-meter-dash; Miyah Grimmett: Shot put; Natalie Jordan: 60-meter-hurdles; Kala Spinks: 400-meter-run; Akeyla Edwards: 400-meter-run; Antez Tolbert: 400-meter-run; Gabbie Batiste: Long jump.

The teams will participate in two additional meets this season; both will be held at the Hoover athletic facility. The Last Chance Invitational Meet will be held Friday and Saturday, Jan. 25 and 26 and the AHSAA State Indoor Meet is slated for Feb. 1st and 2nd.

OHS Basketball

The girls basketball team won two games last week to improve their season’s record to 11-3. The Lady Bulldogs defeated Central in Phenix City, 48-30, in an impressive showing. The win moved OHS to 2-0 in the Area.

Opelika started quickly, taking a 23-9 lead at halftime. The team finished the game by scoring 25 points in the second half. Kamerian Williams led the team with 10 points and Kendall Adams added nine points.

Head coach Devin Booth was pumped after her team won there second Area game in a row.

“Second Area win in a row is huge. I thought our defense was the difference. We are in good shape right now in the Area but we have four more games to decide the winner,” said coach Booth.

The girls did not have long to rest. They traveled to Lanett for a noon tip-off the following day. OHS won a hard fought 52-50 win over the Lady Panthers. Kamerian Williams again led the team in scoring with 16 points, Kendall Adams had 15 while Emma Garner added 13 points.

The OHS boys lost two games in a row. Central defeated the Dawgs in a close game 58-52, with the boys falling to 1-1 in Area play. Playing at Central is always difficult and this game would be no different. Central attempted 38 free throws to Opelika’s 13, which proved to be the difference. Red Devil guard Devin Pugh scored a career high 25 points including the go-ahead layup with 17 seconds left in the game after a missed free throw.

“They kicked our butts on the glass tonight,” said head coach John Wadsworth, upset after his team lost their first Area game, “It’s a personal thing with us. We have to get back to work and get better, which I know we will do.”

T.J.Pressley scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, while JaKell Mitchell added nine points and six rebounds.

The next day the boys travelled to Lanett where the Panthers won 63-57. Jarvis Johnson scored a career high 21 points in the loss, Trey Purter scored 13 while Pressley added 11. The two losses dropped the team’s overall record to 8-5.

The Dawgs have had only six practices with the entire team because of the long football season. Six football players also play basketball.  The team will be fine once they find the chemistry needed to win games.

Auburn, Central, Smiths Station and Opelika are all 1-1 in the Area. This is an advantage for the Bulldogs because they will improve with each game and still have a great chance to win the Area and host the Area tournament.

Football News

I failed to mention last week that JaKell Mitchell and Stephen Roberts were voted All-State in football by the state’s sports writers. Congratulations to both of these fine young men.

A Story From Dr. John Ed Mathison

Former Methodist preacher and former standout OHS athlete, Dr. John Ed Mathison was a guest of Opelika during the Super 6 Championship game between Opelika and Hoover. Dr. Mathison, an OHS graduate played tennis and basketball for the Bulldogs (he was All-State in basketball way back “when”),  sat with me during our Super 6 banquet the Wednesday before the Friday championship game.

It was a treat for me, my daughter Madison and Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller to be able to listen to the funny stories of his days as an athlete at OHS.

After the championship game, Dr. Mathison wrote a piece about our head football coach and athletic director. Brian Blackmon. Only a few people knew about the story that Dr. Mathison wrote. I was one of those people and I am proud he chose to write about our coach. The story that appears elsewhere on this page, of course, really happened, but the big news is, it happens over and over. Our Brian Blackmon is a lot more than a football coach. He is a positive influence on young men’s lives.

Some additional insights on John Ed: his younger brother, George, is pastor at Auburn First United Methodist Church. Our older readers will remember his parents, “Brother Si” and Mary Mathison. Brother Si was the beloved pastor of Opelika’s First United Methodist Church for many years.

Dixie Youth Baseball Registration

You can now register for the 2013 Opelika Dixie Youth Baseball season online at now through Feb. 23.