by D. Mark Mitchell

Opelika (7-1, R:4-0) continues its domination in Region Three after thumping Chelsea (6-2, R:2-2) 48-24 at Bulldog Stadium last Friday night. OHS observed “Senior Night” for the 12th graders and “Pink Out” for everyone.
The senior members of the band, senior cheerleaders, seniors on the football team, senior training staff and senior managers were all honored during pregame ceremonies.
The Hornets struck first, kicking a 32-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead with 8:56 left in the opening quarter.
Opelika answered with three touchdowns in their next three possessions. Weldrin Ford scored  TD’s on runs of 29, 3 and 59 yards.
Chelsea scored their first touchdown early in the second quarter on a 8 yard pass from Mathew Marquet to Josh Greg. The Hornets did not score another point on the Bulldog first team defense.
Opelika added two more scores before halftime. Jordan Heard caught a 26-yard TD pass from John David Worth and Ford added his fourth touchdown of the game on a 59 yard run with 1:08 left in the second quarter, making the halftime score 35-0, Bulldogs.
The Dawgs added a TD in the third quarter and a final score in the fourth. Jaleel Heard caught an 11-yard TD pass from Worth in the third and Conner Smith sprinted 66 yards to the end zone for the final tally.
Austen Blackmon kicked five PAT’s and Tyler Sellers added one. Sellers’ second try was blocked.
Chelsea scored two  touchdowns with less than four minutes to go in the game.
Opelika travels to Wetumpka (7-1, R:4-1) Friday night for a huge Region game for both teams. The Dawgs can clinch their third straight Region championship with a win over the Indians.
Wetumpka beat  Prattville 55-53, Eufaula 33-0, Stanhope-Elmore 54-39, Chilton County 40-32, Greenville 41-19, Pelham 35-10 and Helena 28-21. Their only loss was to Chelsea, 35-28.
The two teams each score points; each one is averaging almost 40 points per game. The big difference is defense. The Indians defense has allowed 209 points compared to Opelika’s 101 points given up.
If you look at common opponents and scores, Opelika has a significant advantage and should win the game.
Wetumpka lost to Chelsea 35-28. Opelika beat Chelsea 48-24.
Wetumpka defeated Chilton County 40-32. Opelika shutout CCHS 42-0.
Wetumpka beat Helena 28-21.Opelika defeated Helena 36-7.
If the Bulldogs continue to play great defense, run the football and win the turnover battle, this team can go a long way.
Opelika’s biggest opponent may be themselves. This team is full of great young men who have paid a big price to be a part of the Opelika football team. They are playing hard and are poised to make a run to play in the Super 7.
Last Friday night, Chelsea taunted Opelika during the game. Both teams were flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct and each team had a player ejected. It appeared the Hornets started each incident. Instead of walking away, Bulldogs retaliated and were flagged twice.
Football is a physical game and emotions run high. We can not afford penalties before and after the play. Play smart, guys. The instigator might get caught; the retaliator almost always does.
Coach Blackmon preaches that those penalties are non-effort penalties and are unacceptable!
Fans can listen to the Opelika vs Wetumpka football game on WKKR  97.7 KICKER FM and online at
You can also watch a webcast of the game by going to, set up an account and pay a small fee. Part of the proceeds go the to Opelika Athletic Department.
The OMS seventh grade football team lost at Prattville 22-20.
The Bulldog offense was led by Jarell Stinson who ran for all three touchdowns. Taylor Love scored a two point conversion.
Defensively, OMS was led by Farrtavious Hardnett and Luke Murray. Gardner recovered an onside kick late in the game. Bulldogs drop to 5-1 on the season.
OMS hosts Wetumpka Thursday, Oct. 13, at 4:30 Bulldog Stadium.
D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president of the  A-O Sports Council.