On the Mark
By D. Mark Mitchell
Opelika (3-1, R 3-0) defeated Carver 24-7 last Friday night at Bulldog Stadium. Prior to kickoff, the team honored 33 senior football players, as it was Opelika’s Senior Night. According to head coach Erik Speakman, “most of the seniors got in the game,” which is always good on Senior Night.
The two foes entered the game tied 2-0 for first place in the region. Opelika’s defense allowed only one touchdown, early in the first quarter. Opelika scored three touchdowns and a field goal to control the game. Quarterback Malik Finley scored the Dawgs’ first TD, a 13-yard run with 6:22 left in the opening quarter. Ledamian Rowell ran 25 yards for the second score, and JD Tolbert ran 13 yards for the last TD, with 9 minutes left in the game. Baker Rowton nailed a 25-yard field goal and made all 3 PATs.
Opelika continued to have trouble with offensive turnovers, including two in the second half. “We’ve got to quit turning the ball over. We keep them short fields on plays like that and not doing a great job on ball security. We’ve been working on and we’ll continue to do that…” said Speakman.
Opelika host Central
Opelika will host the Central Red Devils (3-2) Friday night at Bulldog Stadium; kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
CHS is coached by Patrick Nix, in his first year after taking over for Jamey Dubose, who retired after posting a 66-6 record in six seasons. The Red Devils advanced to their second consecutive Super 7 State Championship game last year, losing to Thompson. CHS won the 7A State Title in 2018.
Nix is familiar with the Super 7 too, leading Pinson Valley to back-to-back Super 7 football Championships prior to taking over at Central.
The Red Devils are coming off a 45-28 win over Enterprise on Wayne Trawick Field. Central opened the season losing to Hoover 45-35 followed by a loss at Eufaula 38-36. Since then CHS has won three straight since then: 35-7 over Smiths Station, 24-3 over Jeff Davis and the win over Enterprise.
Opelika has its best chance at winning the game in several years. The Dawgs must slow down the Central offense, keep time of possession on their side, score touchdowns in the red zone and make no turnovers. It will take a nearly perfect game for the Bulldogs to win.
No tickets are available on the Opelika side due to COVID-19 restrictions. Central fans will be able to purchase tickets online.
You can hear the broadcast on WKKR 97.7 Kicker FM, beginning at 6:30. You can listen online at Kickerfm.com or watch at nfhsnetwork.com. The live stream is free, thanks to the generosity of the Orthopaedic Clinic. The Ortho Clinic paid the annual fee so fans do not have to pay to watch online.
NINTH GRADE FOOTBALL
OHS ninth grade football team, 0-2, lost 16-0 to Valley last week at Bulldog Stadium.
The Dawgs traveled to Eufaula Monday night, but the results were not made available prior to press time.