By D. Mark Mitchell
The OHS Bulldog football team (3-2, 1-1 in region) lost to Benjamin Russell (4-0, 3-0 in region) 19-14 last Friday night in Alexander City.
BRHS kicked two field goals, from 27 and 35 yards, to take a 6-0 lead at halftime.
The Wildcats extended the lead 19-0, after scoring two rushing touchdowns in the second half.
Opelika, trailing 19-0, scored 14 points in a span of 32 seconds late in the game. Jamias Pressley returned a punt 44 yards for the Dawgs’ first score with 1:31 left.
Following a recovered onside kick, senior wide receiver Jorden Heard caught a 49-yard pass from freshman quarterback Malik Finley for a touchdown.
All of a sudden, the Dawgs trailed 19-14 with less than 90 seconds left in the game.
Kicker Dalton Cooper tried a second onside kick. The ball took several bounces before a Wildcats player fell on the football. BRHS used three snaps to run the clock out to win the game.
Opelika’s injuries continue to mount: sophomore quarterback Brody Davis left the game with an injured shoulder and junior tackle Blake Landers was transported by ambulance to the hospital after injuring his back and neck. Dr. Trent Wilson, Opelika’s team doctor from the Orthopaedic Clinic, tended to Blake on the field while ambulance personnel prepared him for the ride.
The good news was that Blake’s test showed no spinal injury, but he will require time to heal.
At press time, no other details were available.
OPELIKA at ( #1) CENTRAL
Opelika will travel to Phenix City Friday to play rival Central in a non-region game, with kickoff set for 7 p.m. CST.
The 4-0 Red Devils are ranked number one in the AHSAA’s 7A poll. The two schools’ coaches are familiar with each other. Central Coach Jamey Dubose and Opelika Coach Caleb Ross coached together at Prattville under Bill Clark.
Opelika is facing a tough task for many reasons – on the road playing without your first an second QB. Freshman Malik Finley will start for OHS at quarterback until Cade Blackmon or Brody Davis are able to play.
Several other players are doubtful for the game.
This a non-region game that will not effect the Bulldogs’ shot at the playoffs. Opelika and Central are rivals, and expect OHS to play hard regardless of the injuries.
The OMS seventh and eighth-grade football teams beat Auburn last week at Bulldog Stadium. The seventh grade won 22-0, and the eighth grade won 41-14.
Both teams improved to 3-0 and will travel to Smiths Station Thursday. The seventh-grade squad will kickoff at 4:30 C.S.T.
Opelika fans can listen to Bulldog Football on 97.7 Kicker FM each week. Airtime for the Coach Ross pre-game show is 6:30 p.m., with kickoff at 7. Former Opelika Coach, Larry Gore, Jeff Sasser and Mason Black will join me to broadcast the game. You can also listen online at kickerfm.com.
D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president of the A-O Sports Council.