The Opelika Bulldogs defeated Carver 20-16 last Friday night in the annual “Champions Challenge” at Cramton Bowl in Montgomery. Although the two teams played a full game with starters the win will not count in the record.
The game was a match up between two teams with stout defenses. Points were hard to come by, and Opelika was able to run the football, which was the difference. Junior Josh Johnson rushed for 126 yards in his first game as a Bulldog, and Mathew Christian continues to shine at QB. The defense was consistent all night, putting pressure on Carver’s quarterback every play. The defense gave up one play for 80 yards and a touchdown, the only offensive score for the Wolverines.
Opelika travels to Duck Samford Stadium tonight to play arch rival Auburn. This is the earliest matchup between the two programs in over 100 years. The two teams played in game 10 until the AHSAA designated certain weeks of the season region games.
Auburn is in class 7A while Opelika remained in 6A. The two teams will be playing for the first time without being in the same region or classification. Despite being in different classifications and regions, this is Opelika vs. Auburn! Enough said!
AHS enters the game 0-1 after losing to Gadsden City in double overtime last week. Coach Tim Carter lost 16 starters from last year’s team that played Hoover for the State Championship. The Tigers obviously showed signs of inexperience last week.
The old saying is, a team improves the most from week one to week two. I hope that is the case for Opelika but not Auburn. Opelika lost a tough game to Auburn last year at Bulldog Stadium. The Dawgs will try to beat Auburn on the road tonight and give Opelika fans bragging rights for the next year.
This will be a similar game to last week against Carver. The game should be low scoring. Field position, turnovers, penalties, special teams and time of possession will need to favor Opelika. Specials teams allowed a blocked punt for a safety and a 80 yard TD return after the safety. AHS boasts one of the best placekickers in the state.
The team that rushes for more yards, wins the turnover battle and has fewer penalties usually wins.
Auburn has a terrific running back. Tyus Flakes, son of Opelika alum Tyrone Flakes, who scored the winning TD, last year, returns along with QB Bradley Northcutt. The Tigers will try to run Flakes to open up the passing game. The defensive line for the Bulldogs must play the best they can play. The secondary is young but played hard last week in Montgomery.
Opelika has to score points when possible. Auburn will be hungry after the loss. Opelika is hungry to make sure Auburn does not win two in a row.
This will be a good old fashion hard-hitting tight football game. I am not looking in a crystal ball, but … we will win the game. Coach Blackmon and his staff have a great game plan and the guys have practiced with intensity all week.
You can listen to the Opelika-Auburn game on WKKR 97.7 KICKER FM or online at http://www.kickerfm.com/ Airtime is 6:30 p.m. for the Coach Brian Blackmon pre-game show; live coverage from Duck Samford at 6:45 p.m. with kickoff set for 7 p.m. Fans can also watch on the web by going to www.thedawgnetwork.com and clicking the link to the webcast. You must purchase the game through the NFHSA; part of the revenue goes to OHS.
Opelika fans can keep up with the Bulldogs by going to the official site of Opelika Athletics. You can find updated scores, stats, schedules and other important info. You can also listen to “On The Mark” weekdays from 7-9 a.m. on WTLM 1520 AM.