By D. Mark Mitchell
Opelika High School (1-2 overall, 1-0 in region play) defeated Selma 66-6 last Friday night at Bulldog Stadium, scoring early and often against the outmanned Saints.
Brantan Barnett opened the night’s scoring with a 19-yard touchdown run fewer than five minutes into the first quarter.
Selma’s Nick Parnell answered, taking the ensuing kickoff nearly 100 yards for a touchdown. The extra-point attempt failed, leaving the Bulldogs up 7-6 with 10:18 left in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs took over and scored 59 unanswered points, much to the delight of the homecoming crowd in attendance for the team’s home opener.
Senior quarterback Cade Blackmon accounted for two passing TDs of 45 yards to Omar Holloway and 60 yards to Marien Warner. Kani Kellum scored two rushing touchdowns on runs of nine and one yards. Barnett finished with 128 rushing yards on seven attempts, added two more rushing TDs on runs of 30 and 55 yards.
Braylon Prince (one yard) and Jaylen Finley (12 yards) added rushing scores in the fourth quarter. Baker Rowton was 6-of-6 on extra points and Sergio Alcantara finished 1-of-2 on his extra-point attempts.
Marshall Meyers continues to improve in his handling of kickoff duties. Meyers, a soccer standout, kicked a football for the first time in the spring. He will continue to improve and add another aspect to an already solid kicking game.
The Bulldogs travel to Wetumpka (3-0 overall, 1-0 in region play) Friday for a huge region game. Opelika and Wetumpka have played each other twice, in 1938 and 2014, prior to joining the same region in 2016. Opelika has won the last two meetings by two combined points, 38-37 in 2016 and 20-19 last year at Bulldog Stadium.
Opelika tied Wetumpka and Benjamin Russell for the 2017 region championship, after tiebreakers Wetumpka and Benjamin Russell took the one and two seed, dropping Opelika to third. The Indians lost returning quarterback J.D. Martin after suffering an ACL injury prior to the first game.
Martin, a three-star athlete, accounted for 3,400 yards of offense, with 2,400 yards through the air and 1,100 on the ground. Wetumpka did not use the injury has an excuse, winning their first three games, 34-14 over Fairhope, 44-14 over Northview and 34-14 over Calera last week.
This is a key game for both Opelika and Wetumpka. The loser will have a difficult time winning the region without help from tiebreakers. The two teams should be ready after winning by large margins last week.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m in Wetumpka. Tickets can be purchased online at gofan.co (not .com) or at the gate. Fans can listen to the broadcast on WKKR 97.7 FM starting at 6:30 p.m. or online at www.kickerfm.com.
Opelika’s volleyball team finished 2-2 in the Auburn High Tournament held last weekend. The Lady Bulldogs beat Beauregard 2-1 and Brookstone 2-0 but lost to Prattville 2-0 and Auburn 2-0.
Coach Robin Roberts took her team to Alexander City Tuesday night for a match with Benjamin Russell, but the results were not available at press time.
Opelika will host Russell County Sept. 13 at 4 p.m. and Auburn Sept. 18 at 4:30 p.m.
D. Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys state director and vice president of the A-O Sports Council.