by D. Mark Mitchell

The Opelika City School System will start school August 4. This is a full day with buses running. Breakfast and lunch will be served at all the schools.
The Opelika High football team traveled to Troy Monday to participate in “team camps” with several other high school teams.
Coach Blackmon chose to take both the first and second teams to Troy. “Team camp” is for all positions.
This is a way to practice with other teams instead of just practicing against yourself. This is the last practice before the Dawgs start fall practice Aug. 1.
Opelika returns six out of 22 starters. The offensive backfield will feature several new faces. John David Worth and Cade Blackmon are competing for starting quarterback. John David was the back-up QB last year.  Cade is an upcoming sophomore. John David can play several positions beside quarterback.
Jaleel Heard returns as the top receiver; his brother, Jordan, is expected to make a impact.
The offensive line will be anchored by “Rock” Chambers. The senior will be a three-year starter. Chambers committed to Duke, where he will play football while studying to be a heart surgeon.
Weldon Ford returns to the backfield after tearing all his ligaments in the spring of his ninth grade season. Ford watched from the sidelines on crutches the past two seasons.
Defensive Coordinator Erik Speakman will have a small defensive line compared to years past. Speakman’s defense is always fast and will fly to the football.
The linebackers should be improved as should the defensive backs.
The Bulldogs have to replace a punter, a kick-off man, a snapper and a place kicker. Chaz Blackmon is slated to be the kick-off man while Worth is expected to handle the punting duties.
Opelika opens the season Aug. 19 against Carver of Columbus.
The Dawgs then make back-to-back road trips, to Auburn’s Duck Samford Stadium to play AHS August 26th and visit Crampton Bowl to play the Carver Wolverines of Montgomery September 1.
Following the two road trips, OHS will host Chilton County, Benjamin Russell and Central-Phenix City, September 9, 16 and 23 respectively.
The Bulldogs then play three out of the last four regular season games on the road: September 30 at Helena, October 7 at home against Chelsea and back-to-back trips to Wetumpka and Pelham October 14 and 21.
OHS will be off the last week of the regular season, hopefully  preparing for the playoffs.
Opelika High School season ticket holders can purchase their tickets Aug 1-5 in the OPAC lobby from 3:45-5:30 p.m. Cost is $35 per season book. Swap day for season ticket holders will be Monday August 8 from 3:45-5 p.m. and new season tickets go on sale August 9 from 3:45-5:30 p.m.
For more information call OHS, 334-745-9715.
The Opelika Parks and Recreation swim team, Sea Dawgs, finished third out of seven teams in the District Five swim meet in Valley.
The Sea Dawgs had 53 swimmers to qualify for the state swim meet in Birmingham this weekend. Qualifiers and their coaches are:
Isaac Bae, Railey Jones, Graham Forthofer, Kara Choi, John Stuart Nicholson, Martha Pugh, Xander Atkins, Ana Grace Atkins, Presley Mullins, Mamie Nicholson, Lacey Grace Arnett, Emberly Bordeaux, Georgia Vaughn, Allie Wilson, Mylee Bordeaux, Juliet Nell, Lexi Coulter, Bradi Jones, Lillie Grace Smith, Julia Bush, Isabella Jackson, Summer Scroggins, Jinah Bae, Sean Ferrebee, Anniston McGhee, Jude Nicholson, Maddie Hinds, Ryan Bang, Sarah Beth Smith, CJ Johnson, Carly Gooden, Carson Kendrick, Tripp Vaughn, Ellie Kendrick, Jacob Stockton, Jacob Furmanek, Ben Chung, Gabe Forthofer, Mitchell Stockton, Cole Coulter, Bryan McEntire, Caleb Crawford, Brian Choi, Brayden Gooden, Ellie Miller, Sarah Bush, JJinhyo Park, Shirley Pugh, Karley Nelson, Sarah Ashley Forthofer, Shelby Nelson, Lilli Hinds and Ashley Hilyer.
Coaches are Kenslei Senn, Sarah Roberts, Erin Carpenter, Justin Perkins, Loghan Poer and Mandy Johnson.
Good luck, Sea Dawgs!
D. Mark Mitchell is the Sports Director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State Director and the vice president of the A-O Sports Council.