Opelika improved to 6-1 overall and 3-0 in Region 3, after a 36-7 win over Helena last Friday night at Huskie Stadium in Helena. OHS took the opening drive 72 yards before fumbling at the Helena 1-yard line. This would be the only hiccup of the night for the Bulldogs.
Opelika scored 14 points in the first quarter, 10 points in the second, five points in the third quarter and seven in the fourth.The Bulldogs capped off a 93-yard drive with a John David Worth 12-yard pass to Jaleel Heard for their first touchdown. On the next possession, Worth threw a 11-yard pass to Heard for his second TD reception. Conner Smith and John David Worth then scored touchdowns on runs of 15 and four yards, respectively. The Opelika defense scored a safety after forcing Helena’s quarterback to throw a pass out of his end zone to avoid a sack. The Huskies were flagged for intentional grounding in the end zone, giving Opelika two points.
Austen Blackmon kicked two field goals, for 23 yards and 33 yards, and was four for four on extra points.
The Bulldog defense almost earned their fourth shutout of the season. The Huskies scored a TD late in the fourth quarter on the younger OHS players.
Jaleel Heard caught eight passes for 102 yards, John David Worth was 11 of 17 for 198 yards and two scores and Weldrin Ford rushed for 121 yards on a game-high 27 attempts. Zach Yancey led the defense with eight tackles and Talik Jackson added seven tackles.
Opelika will host Chelsea ( 5-1, R-2-1) in a huge region game Friday at 7 p.m. at Bulldog Stadium. Opelika is 2-0, all time, against CHS, winning 60-14 in 2014 and 40-25 last year.
Chelsea beat Oak Mountain 49-33, Briarwood Christian 43-15, Wetumpka 35-28, Pelham 55-35 and Gardendale 38-21. Benjamin Russell defeated them 40-29 for their only loss.
The Hornets have scored 249 points and allowed 172 points, for an average score of 41-29. Opelika has scored 258 points and allowed but 77 points for an average score of 43-11. (The Bulldog first team defense is allowing six points per game.) As you can tell, both teams can score points, but OHS plays better defense.
OHS should win the football game. The Dawgs’ schedule is much more difficult  than the Hornets’ and should play a factor in the win. I think Chelsea’s two hour drive and playing at Bulldog Stadium will benefit OHS.
Look for Opelika to take another step to a third straight region championship. The Bulldogs are too strong and will prevail. This is the last time fans will be able to watch the Dawgs at home until the playoffs. OHS travels to Wetumpka and Pelham for the final two games.
Tickets for this week’s game are on sale at Bubba’s Medicine Shop and Victory Designs until noon Friday. The remaining tickets can be purchased at the ticket window at Bulldog Stadium starting at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
Fans can listen to all Opelika games on WKKR 97.7 KICKER FM and online at kickerfm.com beginning at 6:30 Friday. Jeff Sasser and Coach Larry Gore provide commentary while I  handle the play-by-play.
You can also download the i-Heart Radio App on your Smart phone, Free. (Search WKKR)
Opelika’s  Ben Garner continues to dominate the state of Alabama in cross country. The senior finished second, .01 seconds behind first place,  in the Jesse Owens Cross Country Invitational Saturday at Clay-Chalkville.
Garner ran a 15:28.2, led the last half of the race but was nipped at the finish line to finish second. The winner was from Brentwood, TN. Garner finished in front of all the runners from Alabama. The finish should give Garner a boost because the race was held on the same course the AHSAA will hold the state championship.
Garner finished ahead of 274 runners and helped his team finish 23rd. The girls place 37th.
The OHS volleyball team beat Sidney Lanier this week, but lost to Central, Auburn and Ben Russell. The girls are 10-12. The next home match is Oct. 6 against Central. Junior varsity starts at 5:30 with Varsity to follow.
The OMS seventh grade football team defeated Central 12-6 in Phenix City. Offensively, the Bulldogs were led by Jarell Stinson with two rushing touchdowns behind a great blocking effort by the offensive line.
Defensively, it was a solid effort by the entire defense. Jaden McGhee had a first half fumble recovery and Nick Covington had a second-half interception.
The OMS 8th grade defeated Phenix City 27-6. The defense was led by Daylen Torbert and Dino Martin who both had an interception. Ladamian Rowell and Braylon Prince had great games as well.
The offense was led by Malik Finley who threw for three touchdowns, one to Trevon Moore, one to Quay Ross, and one to Eric Watts.
Eric Watts also had a rushing touchdown and a two-point conversion. The offensive line (Dillon Phillips, Garrett Fitzwater, John Trask, Ty Robinson, and Kris Epperson) did an awesome job all night.
The eighth graders improved to 5-0; next up is their game at Prattville Oct. 6. The 7th- grade game starts at 5 p.m., with the 8th graders to follow.
D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president of the  A-O Sports Council.