On the Mark
By D. Mark Mitchell
The Central Red Devils (4-2) defeated Opelika (3-2) 21-19 last Friday night at Bulldog Stadium. CHS extended its win streak over OHS to five games and lead the all-time series 46-32.
The game was scoreless after one quarter, with Central taking a 7-0 lead at intermission. Terry Miles, one of two Red Devil quarterbacks, threw a 23-yard pass to Zion Morris for a touchdown with 0:45 remaining in the second quarter.
Opelika scored their first points of the game with 7:15 in the third quarter. Baker Rowrton made a 27-yard field goal, making the score 7-3. The Red Devils scored back-to-back touchdowns on long runs by Joseph McKay. Less than 20 seconds after the field goal, McKay sprinted 90 yards to increase the lead. His second TD was a 60-yard run with 5:10 remaining in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs answered with 2 minutes left in the third quarter. QB Malik Finley threw a 10-yard pass to Shawn Jones, who ran the remaining 66 yards for a TD closing the deficit to 21-10 heading to the final quarter.
OHS bowed its neck and battled the fourth quarter. Down 11 points, Baker Rowton nailed a 34-yard field goal with 7:29 left. The Bulldogs scored a TD after Eric Watts ran 87 yards to the end zone, closing the score to 21-19. Opelika’s two-point conversion was interrupted by a stiff Red Devil defensive front that gained enough penetration to stop the conversion.
Central senior running back Joseph McKay finished with a whopping 245 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Eric Watts gained 170 yards, 85 of those yards coming on the last score in the fourth quarter.
Despite Opelika losing its second game of the season, their region record remains 3-0 with Russell County coming to Bulldog Stadium Friday night for Homecoming.
RUSSELL COUNTY VS OPELIKA
Russell County football team played their first game of the season last Friday, losing to Beauregard 23-0. RCHS head football coach and athletic director Mark Rose said he thinks no school should be playing football because of COVID-19. In his second season at Russell County, he refused to talk with the media and allow athletes to work out in the high school weight room. Rose was not on the sideline last week and did not coach the team. Based on information I have gathered, Rose will not return as head coach and AD after the 2020-21 school year. Coaches Britton and Hall appear to be in control of day-to-day activities.
OHS leads the series 15-0, outscoring the Warriors 641 points to 60 points. Needless to say, the Bulldogs are too strong for this Warrior football team. They have only practiced for two weeks. Opelika has a football program that works year-round. Homecoming should be nice.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Bulldog Stadium. You can watch the live stream online at NFHSnetwork.com. Set up an account, search “Opelika High” and click the “Opelika Production” to watch free. The Orthopaedic Clinic paid the yearly fee so every fan can watch free. The game can be heard on 97.7 Kicker FM and online at kickerfm.com beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Opelika’s Freshman football team lost 29-21 last week to Eufaula on the road. The Dawgs found themselves down 29-6 before scoring two touchdowns and converting on a 2-point play. The team remains winless after three games but keeps working to get better during the week.
Opelika High Cross Country Teams hosted the “Opelika Invitational” last weekend at the Sportsplex. The OHS boys finished sixth while the girls placed fourth.
OHS Girls Individual places: Breckin Gould won the Invitational running with a time of 19:13.77. Paola Torres finished 16th, Margaret Bice 33rd, Violett Alcorn 39th, Susan Gaston 45th, Cruz Tylicki 45th and Abigail Noon 48th.
OHS Boys: Chas Brewer was 13th, clocking in at 17:52.55. Winston Tufts was 31st, Evan Goodman 61st, Peyton Weston 61st, William McCullogh 65th, Jake Walters 70th, Zalen Shaw 80th, Trey White 81st, Jack Quinn 106th, Amari Bynum 116th.
D. Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State Director and vice president of the A-O Sports Council.