A Happy Homecoming

D. Mark Mitchell


The Opelika High varsity football team (5-3, R4-2) beat region foe Smiths Station (1-7, R1-5) 31-17 last Friday at Bulldog Stadium. The win ended Opelika’s three-game losing streak, and allowed for a happy homecoming on the OHS campus.  

The scoring summary is as follows: Smiths Station struck first, scoring the first touchdown of the game on a 10-yard pass. The Bulldogs answered by scoring the next 31 points. JC Perry intercepted a pass and returned it 51 yards for the first TD. Junior quarterback Roman Gagliano ran 2 yards for the second score to give OHS its first lead. Johnni Cesena made a field goal from 22 yards out late in the second quarter. Calvin Hughley caught a 17-yard TD pass from Gagliano in the third quarter, and the final score of the game was a 5-yard TD run by Ja’Kori Thorntan. Kicker Will Carroll made his fourth PAT. 

The Dogs outgained Smiths Station on the night, 310 yards to 205. OHS rushed for 223 yards and threw for 87 yards. Gagliano was 8-of-14 for 84 passing yards, Calvin Hughley recorded 20 rushes for 210 yards and Kaden Cooper added 28 receiving yards. 

Defensively, Benton Williams recorded eight tackles, while Smiley, Drake, Ingram, Heard, Brazier, Garner and Autry added four tackles apiece. 

Opelika will host Enterprise (4-3, R2-3) Friday night at Bulldog Stadium in a region game for the first time since 2015. Enterprise is led by Ben Blackmon in his first season as head coach, after leading Spanish Fort to 77 wins and a state championship in 2015. 

The Wildcats’ four wins were over Bay Panama City FL (41-7), Smiths Station (27-7), Rehobeth (50-6) and Dothan (51-28). The losses were to Auburn (31-21), Central (27-7) and Prattville (42-26). 

EHS has scored 254 points while allowing 155 points this season compared to 237 points by Opelika, while allowing 187 points.

Opelika is 4-2 in the region while Enterprise is 2-3. An Opelika win, combined with an Auburn win over Central, would keep the Dogs in second place in the region. An Enterprise win moves the Wildcats one step closer to a playoff berth.

OHS leads the series all-time with 15 wins and six losses, dating back to the first game in 1968. The Wildcats’ last win came when Spence McCracken was head coach in 2004.  

Fans can listen to the OHS vs. Enterprise game on WKKR 97.7 KICKER FM, starting with pre-game show at 6:30 p.m., online at kickerfm.com or on the iHeartRadio app. Tickets can be purchased at Bubba’s Medicine Shop and Victory Design until noon on Friday. The Bulldog Stadium ticket office opens at 5:30 p.m.


The OHS Flag football team (10-4) beat Loachapoka 21-8 last week. OHS scored from QB Cheridi Daniels’ touchdown run, an Amiya Brown rushing TD and a connection from Daniels to KK Dowell for a passing TD. ‘Poka added one score, but OHS won 21-8 and improved to 10-4. 


The Opelika freshman football team lost to rival Auburn, 20-6, last week. The Tigers scored the first points on the opening possession, making it 6-0. OHS answered by scoring a TD on the ensuing possession, but the PAT was missed leaving the score at 6-6. Auburn scored two TD’s in the second half to pull away. 

D. Mark Mitchell is the sports director at iHeartMedia, host of “On the Mark” Fox Sports the Game 910-1310, co-chair of the Auburn-Opelika Sports Council, chairman of the Super 7 and Dixie Boys Baseball state director


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