By D. Mark Mitchell
Opelika High’s class of 2017 will receive their diplomas Friday night at 7 p.m. inside Bulldog Stadium, weather permitting. Like every other year, we will lose student/athletes to graduation.
The seniors who participated in athletics left their mark on the program.
Congratulations to the class of 2017!
DANIEL LEAVES OHS
Buster Daniel leaves Opelika to become the head football coach at Valley High School in Valley, Alabama. The Chambers County Board of Education voted unanimously to accept the recommendation of Buster Daniel as the new football coach at VHS. This was the second time the CCSS has tried to lure the 1983 graduate of Valley High School home to become the head football coach. This time they succeeded.
Daniel was the dean of the OHS coaching staff with 22 years of service. Coach Daniel was hired by Spence McCracken. He coached the offensive line and was promoted to assistant head coach under
Brian Blackmon. Daniel also served as special teams coordinator, coordinated the drug testing program for the athletic department and was in charge of maintaining the new turf at Bulldog Stadium. Buster taught physical education at Opelika High School as well.
Coach Daniel’s final duty as an Opelika High coach was in last Friday night’s spring game against Stanhope Elmore in Millbrook, a 28-7 win for the Dawgs! Daniel’s first day at Valley High was Monday.
I want to personally thank Buster for making a positive impact at OHS and the OHS athletic department for 22 years. Best to you, Buster Daniel, and Rams!
DAWGS WIN SPRING GAME
The Opelika High football team, under first year head coach Caleb Ross traveled to Millbrook Friday to play Stanhope Elmore in a spring game scrimmage. The Dawgs won 28-7.
The scrimmage was first string v. first string for the first half and the first two series of the third quarter. The second strings finished the third and part of the fourth before the rest of the squads played.
By the time the starters left the field, Opelika led 21-0. The defense continued where they left off last season, playing fast and not allowing many yards while holding the Mustangs out of the end zone.
The offense, led by quarterback Cade Blackmon looked sharp considering he and the receivers had only eight days of practice. Blackmon was 10 of 20 for 178 yards in a half. Brantan Barnett rushed for 74 yards and a touchdown while teammate Kani Kellum added 77 yards on the ground. OHS gained 179 yards on the ground on 24 rushing attempts.
Tyler Sellers was three-for-three on extra points, with Dalton Cooper adding the last PAT. Sellers missed a 40 yard field goal by inches. The kick went 10 yards after clearing the crossbar which means the ball carried 50-plus yards in the air.
Coach Ross was all smiles during the post game radio interview.
“Obviously, I am happy with the outcome. The guys competed, played hard and we looked organized. As the head coach, after only eight days of practice, you worry how the team will look when they line up against another team. I am proud of the way we conducted ourselves during pregame, the game and after the game. The defense is tough and hard-nosed. They will hit you and fly to the football. On the offensive side, we did a lot of good things. But plenty of room to improve,” Ross said. “These guys have learned new terminology in a short period of time. I am personally learning the coaches and players better and better each day.”
Opelika will take three weeks off before returning for summer workouts. The team will compete in some 7-v-7 tournaments and work on getting stronger. Opelika opens the 2017 football season at Smiths Station Aug. 25. The first home game is Sept. 1 against Auburn High.
OPELIKA ALL-SPORTS BOOSTER CLUB
Opelika ASBC corporate sponsors should be receiving their renewal forms by mail. The Opelika High School cheerleaders are currently selling ads for the athletic/football program. If you are interested in an ad in the program or a corporate sponsorship, call 334-745-9715 or email me, D. Mark Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org
D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president of the A-O Sports Council.