By D. Mark Mitchell

sports coloumnist

The OHS softball season ended last week in the regional tournament in Gulf Shores. Opelika beat Citronelle and Daphne but was beaten by Gulf Shores and Dothan in the double-elimination tournament.
The Lady Bulldogs, 25-15, won the area championship and went 2-2 in the regional tournament in completing their first winning season in seven years.
First year Coach Tina Deese had hopes that her team could advance to the state tournament this week, but that was not to be.
The Bulldogs graduate eight players but return several key players.
Opelika started the season 11-11 before going 12-2 in the last 14 games prior to the regional tournament.
Remember, the Lady Bulldogs were just one win away from making it to the state tournament at Lagoon Park in Montgomery.
Congratulations Lady Bulldog softball team!
Opelika High will conclude spring football drills Friday night with a 7 p.m. scrimmage against Park Crossing of Montgomery.
The Dawgs are having to replace several key players off last year’s 12-1 team. On the offensive side, the quarterback position is open due to the early departure of Jake Bentley, who left for South Carolina.
John David Worth is expected to step in as the number one QB. The senior-to-be played behind Bentley at quarterback and also played slot receiver last year.
The offense will also be looking for a running back to carry the majority of carries, a “go to” receiver, and a tight end. Josh Johnson, James “Spider Hands” Moss and Kyle Fourtanbary will be missed.
The  offensive line, however, should be fine.
Defensively, the Dawgs have seven returning starters off a defense that was spectacular, to say the least. Traditionally this is the strength of OHS football. Coach Blackmon and Defensive Coordinator Erik Speakman count on winning games with defense.
The kicking game may be a question as place kicker Jack Slay  graduated and Bentley handled the punting duties. Chazden Blackman, the back-up kicker, returns and JD Worth will probably handle punting.
Athletes playing spring sports have missed most of the football practices, but have joined spring drills as their spring sport season ended.
Fans can listen to Friday night’s game against Park Crossing beginning at 6:45 on WKKR 97.7 FM.
The seventh and eighth grade football teams will hold a scrimmage Thursday, 5 p.m, at Bulldog Stadium. The two teams will play Benjamin Russell in a controlled scrimmage.
The Opelika All-Sports Booster Club has started renewing corporate sponsors and enrolling ones.
If you are interested in becoming a corporate sponsor, email D.Mark Mitchell at foxonthemark@yahoo.comD.Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president of the  A-O Sports Council.