By Morgan Bryce
Associate Editor

Seven Opelika High School athletes were recognized with Sportsmanship Awards from the Alabama High School Athletic Association during a ceremony last Tuesday.
The award winners, Londarius Baldwin, Will Beams, Cade Blackmon, Jaylin Cummins, James Dawson, Cole Lazzari and Timothy Scott, each contribute to the solid reputation of Opelika’s athletic programs, according to OHS Principal Dr. Farrell Seymore.
“Thank you families, and thank you students, for representing your teams, your school and your families and your communities in the most positive way,” Seymore said.
Tied for the most award recipients of any school in the state, Opelika’s winners received their Award of Excellence certificates from Sen. Tom Whatley.
With representation from Opelika’s basketball, football and wrestling programs, Head Football Coach Erik Speakman and OHS Athletic Director Mike Pugh both shared their excitement on the award and what it means for the school’s image.
“We’ve done that all the way back since I started here (in 2000), going back to Coach (Spence) McCracken. When we talk to them, what it really boils down to is being good people,” Speakman said. “Football, for all of us, is going to end at some point. We ask them, ‘what do you want to be remembered as?’ And these kids are living up to that.”
“When your (student-athletes) get an award like this, it shows what a great student they are and what leaders they are and that’s all very important,” Pugh said.
For Baldwin, Blackmon and Cummins, they said ability the ability to positively represent their families, school, communities and city were the biggest takeaways from receiving the award.
“I was really overjoyed. I am so thankful for this,” Baldwin said.
“Besides wanting to win (on the gridiron), I want to represent my community, and my team and my coaches and my family with class. I’ve always prided myself on character, and that means a lot to me,” Blackmon said.
“This is a big honor for me, but especially my school and city. Any chance I get to represent my city and do good, I treat it as a privilege,” Cummins said.
For more information on the award, visit