D. Mark Mitchell


Opelika (0-2) lost it’s second straight home game, 16-14 to rival Auburn, last Friday night. The final game stats show how closely the two teams played. Auburn ran 65 plays compared to Opelika’s 62 plays. Opelika had more yards from scrimmage than the Tigers, outgaining them 258 to 227. Auburn was the better passing team on the night with 128 yards through the air compared to Opelika’s 97. Both teams rushed for 130 yards. Furthermore, Auburn picked up 13 first downs compared to Opelika’s 11. Neither team was very efficient on third down, with AHS completing 2-12, and OHS 1-12. AHS had eight penalties for 30 yards; OHS had nine penalties for 37 yards.

Both teams scored two touchdowns apiece. Auburn connected on an 8-yard pass for the first score of the game with 0:48 left in the opening quarter. The second TD was a 5-yard run by Davion Williams with one minute left in the third quarter. Opelika scored its touchdowns via a 53-yard pass from JT McArdle to Grady Bynum at the end of the second quarter, and a 3-yard TD run by Jarell Stinson with 3:51 left in the game. (Charles Gagliano made both PAT.)

Auburn kicker Josh Owlsey’s  51-yard field goal with two minutes left in the second quarter proved to be the difference in AHS winning the game.

Auburn entered the game with first year head coach Keith Etheredge, hired after Adam Winegarden left for Tuscaloosa County. I have known Etheredge for 14 years, when he was head coach at Leeds. Etheredge and I talked about the game Saturday night. He has guided five teams to state championships, but said “the atmosphere inside Bulldog Stadium was amazing, electrifying and unbelievable. I thought both teams fought their guts out, tough game. … It is hard to describe the atmosphere until you have experienced it first hand … boy, I saw up close Friday night. Opelika’s facilities are first class … very nice … my wife was bragging about the entire campus. Opelika treated our team well. I’m glad to get out of there (Bulldog Stadium) with a win.”

Etheredge also mentioned the Auburn student section, saying “[They] chanted some things I did not like or appreciate. I will address that with the proper folks.”

Individually for Opelika, Jackson Bates was 8-of-15 for 73 yards passing; Jarell Stinson rushed 17 times for 55 yards; and Grady Bynum caught one pass for 52 yards and a touchdown. Stinson added one catch for 30 yards. Defensively, Taylor Love recorded a team-high nine tackles and two sacks.


OHS opens its Region schedule against Sideney Lanier (2-0) in Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl, Thursday at 7 p.m. The Poets have won their first two games, beating Jeff Davis, 26-12, and Paul Bryant, 33-13. Jeff Davis and Paul Bryant are a combined 0-4 on the young season.

OHS has dominated the all-time series against the Poets, going 13-3. The Bulldogs have won the last 12. The Poets won the first two — 1926 (35-0) and 1937 (21-0) — and the third win was inn 1987 (17-14 in OT).

As you can tell by the series record and the Poets schedule, Opelika should have no problem winning this game, after playing the two tough team to begin the season. The game is scheduled to kickoff at 7 p.m. in historic Cramton Bowl in Montgomery.

Fans can listen to Opelika football on 97.7 Kicker fm, online at or on the iHeartRadio app on smart phones.


Opelika’s varsity Volleyball team opened the first week of the season by beating Russell County 3-0 and losing to Central 1-3. Emma McSpadden led with 14 kills and Sydney Lowe added 19 assists.

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 the Dixie Boys Baseball state director.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here