On the Mark
By D. Mark Mitchell

The OHS baseball team ended their season Friday, losing a doubleheader to Spanish Fort in the first round of the class 6A playoffs.The Toros beat the Bulldogs, 4-1 and 6-0, advancing to round two of the playoffs.

OHS managed to score 1- un over the course of the doubleheader, while allowing 10 runs. The Dogs lack of offense and errors proved costly, leaving the team with a 14-16 overall record for the year.

Opelika left the bases loaded twice during game one, but could not manage to bust open the game. SFHS shutout OHS, 0-6 in game 2, advancing to round two against Hillcrest.


The Opelika girls and boys soccer team played in the second round of the AHSAA 6A soccer playoffs on Tuesday night.

The OHS boys soccer team lost 4-0 to St Paul’s. Opelika could not manage a goal but played hard on the road.

The OHS girls soccer team also fell to St. Paul’s Episcopal by a score of 4-1. The girls had a strong first half but went into the break down 2-0. The lone Bulldog goal was scored in the second half by Amiya Brown, assisted by Eleanor Wilson.

“We will miss our senior Jackie Cruz, Abby Noon and Eleanor Wilson,” coach Jaclyn Button said.

The girls team ended the season 10-5-2 overall.

The girls and boys soccer program continues to improve under Button and coach Derek Hovell.

Before that, the Opelika girls and boys soccer teams defeated Beauregard on Senior night at W. James Samford Soccer Complex. The Lady Bulldogs won 10-0, behind three goals from Scarlet Posadas and two goals by Ashley Hilyer. Other players to score a goal include: Pheobe Darcy, Ana Garcia, Abby Noon, Erica Mathews and Eleanor Wilson. Darcey continued to dominate at the keeper position.

Opelika’s boys team beat Beauregard, 3-0, behind goals from Landon Faison, Said Rujana and Ethan Neman. Assists by Jonathan Blanco and Austin Roberts (2).


Opelika’s track and field team won the sectional track meet with 188 points, 81 points ahead of second place Mountain Brook. The following student-athletes were top performers.

First Place: LeDamien Rowell, long jump and triple jump; Trevon Moore, Shot Put; Jarell Stinson 100 meter, 200 meter and 400 meter; and Justin Shorter, 300 meter hurdles.

Second Place: Justin Shorter 110 Hurdles; Eric Watts 300 meter hurdles, high jump and long jump; Montae Hutchinson, discus; Rowell, high jump. The 4 x 400 meter relay team comprised of Caleb Phillips, Kaden Cooper, Ant McGuire and Dalen Torbert.

Third Place: Trevon Moore discus; Phillips, 400 meter.

OHS will participate in the AHSAA 6A State Track and Field Meet, April 29 through May 1 in Gulf Shores.


The Opelika softball team will host the Area Tournament on May 4 and 5 and West Ridge Park. The winner of the Area 4 tournament advances to Sub-State.

May 4 schedule: G1 at noon – Eufaula vs Valley; G2 at 2 p.m. – Opelika vs Russell County; G3 at 4 p.m. – loser of G1 and G2; G4 at 6 p.m. – winner of G1 and G2

May 5 schedule: G5 at 3 p.m. – winner of G3 vs loser of G4; G6 at 5 p.m. – winner of G4 vs winner of game G5; G7 if necessary at 7 p.m.


Alabama High School Athletic Association Executive Director Steve Savarese has announced his plan to retire, effective July 1. Savarese is in his 15th year as the head of athletics for public schools in Alabama. The announcement was made during a press conference last week at the AHSAA headquarters in Montgomery. Savarese agreed to serve at the liberty of the Central Board of Control if they request more time after July 1.

Coach Savarese, the fourth executive director in the 100-year-old association, followed coach Dan Washburn. Savarese currently serves on the National Federation of High School Board of Directors, was voted to be the President in 2021-22 and serves as chairman of the NFHS Network.

Saverese was a teacher and football coach prior to taking the job at AHSAA, starting in Kansas then moving to Alabama where he guided Ensley, Benjamin Russell, Daphne and McGill-Toolen. Savarese won two state championships as a head coach and spent 47 years as an educator.

I met Coach Sav in the 80’s when he coached the BRHS Wildcats. Our friendship continued to grow over the next 30-plus years. He is one of the kindest and warm-hearted individuals I have ever met. Coach Sav had a tremendous effect on my life, standing with me through numerous health issues since 1992. The AHSAA thrived under his leadership, from moving Super 6 now Super 7 to Jordan-Hare and Bryant-Denny Stadiums, to moving the Softball State Championship to Chocalocco park in Oxford. I could list numerous advancements and progress under Saverese’s tenure. Savarese made high school athletics in Alabama better!

Congratulations Coach Sav and Beth. I among others will mis him.

D. Mark Mitchell is the Sports Director at iHeart Media, host of “On the Mark” on Fox Sports 910-1310, Co-Chair of the Auburn Sports Council, Chairman of the Super 7 and Dixie Boys Baseball State Director.