Opelika head football coach Bryan Moore held his first spring game last Thursday afternoon at Bulldog stadium against Clay-Chalkville.
The spring practice game was the tenth and last day of spring practice for the Bulldogs. The Alabama High School Athletic Association’s rule allows schools to have 10 days of organized practice within a 15-day period. The AHSAA changed the spring practice rule so coaches can hold spring practice or so schools can start a week early in the fall instead of practicing in the spring.
Coach Moore held spring practice for various reasons, including watching his players in full-speed practice in pads. He is trying to identify 11 players to start and 11 players to provide backup on offense, defense and special teams. Moore is also scouting and evaluating his assistant coaches while on the field. All but three assistant coaches were in place when he was hired earlier this year.
I will recap the scrimmage and have Coach Moore’s thoughts in next week’s column.

I can’t recall a time when three of our local 7A high schools were simultaneously looking for head baseball coaches, but right now Auburn, Smiths Station and Opelika are all looking. Auburn High’s Matt Cimo retired after 32 years and four state titles. Smiths Station’s Mike Ferry retired after many years as a head coach with over 400 wins and a 7A State Championship.
Opelika’s Zach Blatt made the decision to step down as head baseball coach after six seasons which came as a surprise to many. In 2018, Dr. Mark Neighbors picked Blatt to replace Nick Richardson, who left for Tuscaloosa County. Blatt led Opelika to multiple playoff appearances in class 6A but could not get by area powers Auburn Central and Smiths Station to make the 7A playoffs.
I spoke at length with coach Blatt about his decision to resign. He said there were many reasons he decided to step away: He and wife (Kristin) just welcomed their second child, who was born two weeks ago. Also, Zach completed his administration degree this year and wants to transition to an administative position within Opelika City Schools. There are other reasons that helped Zach make his decision, such as no Booster Club and parents with personal agendas. It’s tough to mention parents as a problem, because most parents do the right thing and support the program.
Since the mid 80s, I’ve followed the Opelika High baseball program very closely, from helping in the press box to broadcasting games on iHeartRadio. I’ve watched many parents offer support, work in the concession stand, raise money and do whatever is needed to help the team. Unfortunately, some parents do the opposite, which is detrimental to the team. Parents must volunteer to help the baseball program and leave personal thoughts behind.

Opelika High Principal Kellie Fischer and OCS Superintendent Dr. Farrell Seymore will hire the new baseball coach, another very important hire for athletics. The new head baseball coach will have a brand new facility, thanks to Mayor Fuller, City Council President Eddie Smith and the Opelika City Council.
Bulldog Park will undergo a facelift in the coming months. Improvements include a turf baseball field and upgrades to the indoor baseball facilty.
I have no idea who has applied for the Opelika head baseball job, but in my opinion,
the next head baseball coach should be a proven coach with a winning record. For many years, I helped OCS recruit people to fill head coaching vacancies for baseball, softball, football, soccer, cross country and track & field. Perhaps the most important things the new coach will need are head coaching experience and knowledge of how to compete in the AHSAA’s largest classification and in one of the toughest areas in Alabama.
No matter who Opelika hires as the new head baseball coach, it is important for all Opelika student-athletes, parents, fans, students and faculty to rally behind the coach and support the program. It’s a fresh start for everyone, which can be good.

The Glenwood Gators baseball team beat Lee-Scott Academy two out of three games to win the AISA 3A State Baseball Championship last week at Montgomery’s Patterson Field.
The two rivals split the first two games, with Glenwood winning game one 1-4, and LSA winning game two 5-4 to force a winner-take-all game Friday.
The Gators won game three by a score of 7-5 to capture their last AISA State Title. GHS and LSA joined the AHSAA in early spring and will compete this fall in Class 3A.
Central swept two games against Auburn, 11-6 and 10-1, last Thursday at Darnell-Nelson Field in Phenix City, advancing to the AHSAA 7A Baseball Championship Series in Oxford and Jax State. Central was set to play Bob Jones in game one on May 16. Results were not available at press time.

D. Mark Mitchell is the sports director at iHeartMedia, host of “On the Mark” Fox Sports the Game 910-1319, co-chair of the Auburn-Opelika Sports Council, chairman of the Super 7 and Dixie Boys Baseball state director.