Dawgs win season opener against Carver, 34-7
by D. Mark Mitchell
Fans who were two minutes late to their seats last Friday night missed Opelika’s first 20 points. The Dawgs scored three touchdowns in a span of two minutes to take a commanding 20-0 lead. When the final buzzer sounded, Opelika had won, 34-7.
Branton Barnett returned the opening kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown. Austin Blackmon added the PAT for a 7-0 lead. Starting QB John David Worth caught a 34-yard TD pass from Cade Blackmon on a razzle-dazzle play for the second score. Then Weldrin Ford ran two yards for the third touchdown after the Tigers’ fumble at the OHS two-yard line.
Austin Blackmon made the second PAT while a bad snap caused a miss on the third extra point try.
The Bulldog defense held Carver at bay all night. The Tigers never threatened in the first three quarters. Carver’s only TD came with eight minutes to go in the game.
Several Opelika players were cramping during the game. Most were taken out for long rests until each was able to return to play.
Opelika threw for 234 yards and rushed for 48 yards for the game.
OHS and AHS play for the 91st time in the history of the two schools’ rivalry. The Dawgs lead with 45 wins and 42 losses. There have been three ties. Opelika has a two-game win streak with back to back wins in 2014 and 2015.
However, Auburn High has beaten Opelika six out of the last 10 games. All six of the AHS wins were under former Tiger head coach, Tim Carter.
Adam Winegarden starts his second season as head coach for AHS.
The Tigers beat Carver of Montgomery, 17-14 last Thursday night.
Opelika will travel to Duck Samford Stadium Friday night for a 7 o’clock kickoff. Tickets can be purchased at Bubba’s Medicine Shop and Victory Design each day from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. and until noon Friday.
The outcome will not affect Region standings or playoffs for either team as OHS (6A) and AHS (7A) play in separate Regions. The game is for bragging rights only.
KEYS TO VICTORY
Both teams have new starting quarterbacks, running backs and several other key positions. I believe Friday night’s game will be the opposite of last year’s 31-30 game. In other words I look for a low scoring game this year.
Opelika must establish the run and not turn the ball over. Simple, right? Well the opponents tend to cause you to change plans. Either way, this will be no different than any other Opelika vs Auburn football game.
The stadium will be packed and half the spectators will be happy and the other half sad when it’s over.
I hope our bunch are the happy ones when this game is over.
Fans can listen to the Opelika High broadcast of the game on WKKR 97.7 KICKER FM. Pregame is set for 6:30 p.m. with kickoff at 7. You can listen online at kickerfm.com.
D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president of the A-O Sports Council.