By D. Mark Mitchell
The Carver Wolverines (3-1, R-2-1) defeated Opelika (2-2, R-2-1) 47-27 last Saturday night in Montgomery at Crampton Bowl. The two teams were forced to play on Saturday night because ASU played a TV game on Thursday at Crampton Bowl. Auburn University quarterback commit Jeremy Johnson passed for 303 yards while rushing for 67 yards and scored four touchdowns to help his team win.
The Wolverines scored early and often in the first half. On Carver’s first play on offense Johnson found Landy Capetillo wide open running down the sideline for a 70-yard TD.
Opelika’s inability to move the ball early in the game played precisely into Carver’s game plan.
The second Carver possession was not as easy as the first. They converted three long third downs and scored their second touchdown on a two-yard run to lead 14-0 with 5:34 left in the opening quarter.
The Dawgs charged back to tie the game at 14-14 after Jakell Mitchell ran three yards for a score and T.J. Griffen scampered 16 yards to tie the game. (Justin Traylor converted both PATs.) The Wolverines used 45 seconds to score their third touchdown, a 53-yard pass to Draequon Murphy to break the tie. Opelika started their next possession at their own 11-yard line. The Bulldogs tried a pass which was intercepted and turned into a Carver touchdown.
Carver held Opelika again and took over at their 40-yard line. Opelika forced a Carver field goal attempt which was wide left, but a controversial roughing the kicker penalty on Opelika resulted in the Wolverines being awarded a first down and then scoring the last TD of the half to lead 34-14 at the break.
In the second half, each team scored 13 points to make the final 47-27.
Coach Brian Blackmon summed up the loss, “That was a good ole’ fashioned tail kicking we got tonight. I will have to look at the film with our coaches and see what we need to do to get better.”
The loss was Opelika’s first in region play. OHS needs to win out and hope Auburn wins all their region games until the two teams meet later in the season. If that happens OHS can still win the region by beating the Tigers.
Opelika will host Valley for homecoming tonight at 7 p.m. at Bulldog Stadium.
The two teams last met in 1997 when OHS won, 42-12. The first game between the two school that are about 20 miles apart was in 1953, when the Bulldogs won, 24-18.
Valley holds an overall 22-18 advantage over Opelika. So the Rams and the Bulldogs have been rivals for a long time and have played many close games over the years.
Valley comes to Bulldog Stadium fresh off a 37-0 loss to region foe Benjamin Russell. The Rams head Coach resigned three days before the season opener, leaving the team without a coach. Mashon Harper, a former player, graduate and then assistant coach, was named interim head coach. Harper is Valley’s fifth football coach in five years.
Keys to Victory
This is a huge game for Opelika. We need to win because we have three tough games with Smiths Station, Auburn and Hoover following this one. I am confidant that our coaches will have our team ready to play. We need a good noisy, supportive crowd to help our players.
We should be able to control both lines of scrimmage. If this happens our running game will keep the Rams offense off the field and our defense will stay fresh.
If the game is close in the fourth quarter Opelika’s depth should be the difference.
I hope we have control of the game before the fourth quarter.
You can hear tonight’s game on 97.7 KICKER FM or on the web at www.kickerfm.com.
I will call the play-by-play while Jeff Sasser and former OHS Coach Larry Gore will provide the color, Geter Meadows will be on the sideline while Tyler Pigg will keep up with the statistics.
Our coverage starts at 6:30 p.m. with “The Brian Blackmon” pre-game show and we will go live to the stadium at 6:45 p.m. We will have Coach Blackmon after the game and when our coverage is over you can hear the “High School Scoreboard Show” hosted by Jere Bavaro and Eddie Owens.