Baseball team makes playoffs

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By D. Mark Mitchell

Sports Columnist

COACHING NEWS
OHS offensive coordinator Bryan Moore was named head football coach and athletic director at Eufaula High School this week. Moore had served Opelika for eight years as History teacher, assistant football coach and assistant basketball coach. He worked two years under Coach Spence McCracken and the last six under Coach Brian Blackmon.
Moore was promoted to offensive coordinator four years ago. Eufaula will be Moore’s first opportunity as a head football coach. In his  only previous experience as a head coach, he served as OHS interim head basketball coach for one season while Coach Wadsworth dealt with his mother’s illness.
The 29-year-old coach had to make a difficult choice but the chance to be head coach at Eufaula was too good to turn down. Moore is succeeding longtime head coach Dan Klages who was 90-39 in 11 seasons, with three Region championships and 11 straight playoffs appearances.
The move was not easy for Bryan and his wife Lindsey. “This was one of the most difficult decisions I faced in my life. I love Opelika and never thought about leaving here. The type of people and relationships we have developed over the years will always be remembered by my family. I want to thank Dr. Neighbors, Dr. Seymore, Coach Blackmon, the administration and all the fans of Opelika for a wonderful eight years,” said an emotional Moore.
The Eufaula school board approved Moore’s hiring Tuesday night at their regular scheduled board meeting. Moore started his new job as Athletic Director and head football coach Wednesday morning. There is speculation that Moore will hire one of the current assistant coaches on the OHS staff to join him in Eufaula.
Opelika head coach and athletic director Brian Blackmon, was proud for Coach Moore. “ I am both happy and sad, Bryan works hard and did a tremendous job here. He is a player’s coach, the kids love him and play hard for him. He was a tremendous quarterback coach and offensive coordinator. This is a great opportunity for Bryan and Lindsey,” said Blackmon.
Blackmon will assume the duties of offensive coordinator during spring practice. Brian was OHS offensive coordinator for 13 seasons prior to taking the head job and held the position his first two years as head coach.
I met coach Moore eight years ago when he was a 21-year-old new teacher and coach. He taught my daughters, Mallory and Madison, history. I quickly learned Bryan was a unique person as he was teaching my daughters. He cared about each pupil and demanded excellence in the classroom.
I want to thank Bryan Moore for his work at Opelika. Bryan, I wish you and your family the very best in the next chapter in your lives. The people of Eufaula are blessed to have a good Christian family man leading their sports program.
BASEBALL MAKES PLAYOFFS
The OHS baseball team, 24-9, earned a berth in the AHSAA 6A state playoffs after beating Valley 4-3 Tuesday in Fairfax.  The win assured that the team would finish no lower than second in the Area and the top two teams are in the playoffs. This is the first playoff appearance for Opelika baseball since 2008, when the Bulldogs played for the State championship.
Opelika vs Valley
Gage Young earned the win on the mound for Opelika, pitching a complete game for his sixth win of the season. Kent Bugg knocked in the winning run with a double in the top of the sixth inning. Chris Manley led the Dawgs offensively with two hits while Young, Bugg and Mathew Christian added single hits.
The Bulldogs hosted Valley at Bulldog Park last night for a doubleheader. The results were not complete at press time.
Opelika needed one win over the Rams to win the Area championship. If they win that one game, the Bulldogs will host the first round playoff game next Friday April 17. If they did not, they have to play on the road.
Details will be in next week’s edition.
Congratulations to Coach Billy Jones, his staff and members of the OHS team!
TENNIS
The Opelika girls and boys tennis teams defeated Benjamin Russell to improve the sectional record to 4-0.
Singles winners were (boys) Winston Smith T, Andrew Bizilia, Conner Pruitt, Scot Carpenter, Kevin Lazenby and Ross Herring. Girls winners were Sara Hollis Smith T, Sam Herring, Cameron Walker, Emma Levins and Taylor Watson.
SOCCER
The Opelika girls and boys soccer teams participated in the annual “Soccer for a Cure” game with Auburn at Duck Samford Stadium with AHS winning both matches. The girls lost 9-0 while the boys lost 4-1. The event is a way for fans to donate money to a fund set up at EAMC to help local cancer patients travel to and from cancer treatment. The amount of money raised was not available at press time.
OHS vs Central
OHS boys defeated Central 3-1 in a match Tuesday. Khalil Bell and Hunter Weygand scored goals for the Dawgs,
The boys soccer team has a great chance of winning the section for the first time in school history.
TRACK
Several members of both track teams competed in the Mobile Meet of Champions last weekend.
In the Women’s Open Division, Diondra Larkin won the 200-meter dash(25.52) and finished second in both 100-meter dash (12.75) and the long jump (16 ft., 7.5 in.). Other women finishers were
100-meter hurdles: Ghania Warren (third, 16.37), Kala Spinks (eighth, 17.32).
100-meter dash: Ghania Warren (seventh, 13.18)
High Jump: Ghania Warren (seventh, 4 ft. 8 in.)
Men:
100-meter dash: Jalin Marshall ( third,11:34)
110-meter hurdles: Kacey Spinks (third,15.67)
1600-meter run: Kane Barrett (third, 4:36.42)
200-meter dash: Jalin Marshall (fourth, 22.73)
300-meter hurdles: Kacey Spinks (first, 38.97)
3200-meter run: Ben Garner (second,10:05.35)
400-meter dash: Kacey Spinks (fifth, 50.83)
800-meter run: Ben Bryant (sixth, 2:04.43)
High Jump: Zo Bridges (sixth, 6 ft.)
Discus: Franklin Vickerstaff (tenth, 117 ft. 9 in.)
Long jump: Will Boler,( sixth, 20 ft. 8 in.)
Mobile Meet of Champions Invited division:
Men 2-mile run: Ben Bryant (third, 9:30.43) and Kane Barrett (tenth, 9:50.40)
Men 200-meter dash: Nate Huggins (second, 21.50)
300-meter hurdles: Kacey Spinks (second, 39:55) Kacey also won the open division.
400-meter dash: Nate Huggins (first, 47.21)
Triple jump: Will Boler (sixth,  43 ft. 11 in.)
Women’s 300-meter hurdles: Kala Spinks (sixth, 47.84)
Javelin: Tytiania Lockhart (fifth, 119 ft. 9 in.)
Shot put: Tytiania Lockhart (seventh, 36 ft. 5.5 in.)
SOFTBALL REGISTRATION
The Opelika Parks and Recreation Department is offering summer softball for 13-18 year-olds. The leagues are divided by age, 13-15 and 16-18.
If you are interested in playing softball this summer, you can register at theSportsplex during regular hours. The cost is $45 per person.
D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president of the  A-O Sports Council.

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