Dawg Days of Summer: Opelika football ramps up preparation for fall

D. Mark Mitchell

On the Mark
By D. Mark Mitchell

Coaches can hold camps, practice and use drills to teach skills with students zoned for Opelika schools. No sport can mandate practice until the fall start date. No football equipment except helmets and hand-held blocking pads may be used. Sleds are not allowed. Weight training and conditioning programs are not restricted. Each school is responsible for not violating summer rules.

Schools can participate in unlimited competition and/or camps for winter and spring sports during three of the four following weeks, May 30, June 6, June 13 and June 20. Fall sports can participate in competition in the three of the following four weeks, June 27, July 4, July 11 and July 25.

The AHSAA All-star week, July 15-20 is a dead week for student-athletes participating in any school athletics. However, weight training and conditioning is allowed.

To see all the summer rules high school athletics must follow, go to ahsaa.com/publications and look under summer rules.


Two Opelika teams, the O Dawgs 12u and 11u, will hit the road next summer to play in tournaments in Cooperstown and The Ripken Experience in Pigeon Forge.

Current O-Dawgs 12U team will travel to Pigeon Forge Tennessee Aug. 1 through Aug. 6 for the “Ripken Experience”, a week-long tournament. The team is guaranteed a minimum of six games and will receive “Ripken Experience rings.” The 12U O-Dawg team is one of 48 teams from around the nation to participate. The team is in the process of raising money to offset costs for the players. If you are interested in making a donation, go online to odawgsbaseball.com/ripken.

The O-Dawgs 11U team will participate in “The Cooperstown Dreams Park Tournament” in Cooperstown, New York. The O-Dawgs do not know the exact dates, yet, but will leave between Memorial Day and Labor Day in 2022.

The 11U team is made up of ten Opelika players and one each from Chambers Academy and Beulah. The O Dawgs 11U team will play in a minimum of seven games. The players will receive a tournament ring, and tour the National Baseball Hall of Fame, as well as be inducted in the youth baseball Hall of Fame.

Only 1500 players from across the nation will play in the 12u tournaments. Players and coaches are housed in bunkhouses together. The trip cost each player $1300 apiece. If you would like to donate to help the team, go online to odawgsbaseball.com/cooperstown.

Kurt Branch, Opelika Dixie Youth president, is in charge of both teams and can answer any questions.

The two teams will conduct fundraisers until next summer.


Newly named AHSAA Executive Director, Alvin Briggs, named Kim Vickers as associate executive director last week. Vickers takes over the job Briggs held prior to becoming executive director.

“I am very happy to announce that Kim Vickers has accepted the associate executive director role,” Briggs said. “Her acceptance solidifies our staff as we move forward. Her leadership has been essential to the success of the AHSAA, and her role moving forward will be even more essential to the success of the AHSAA.”

Vickers spent 33 years in education, serving students and schools across Alabama. During her tenure at the AHSAA, she served as director of publications, restructuring and improving each sports publication.

Vickers was the director of softball and negotiated a new contract for the State Softball Championship at Choccolocco Park which began in 2021. She is known as the “rules expert” on the AHSAA staff.

Vickers and her husband Jimmy have two daughters, Hagen Vickers Whiterd and Carlie Vickers. Both followed their mother’s path as educators and coaches.

D. Mark Mitchell is the sports diretor at iHeart Media, host of “On the Mark” on Fox Sports The Game 910-1310, Co-chair of the Auburn-Opelika Sports Council, chairman of the Super 7 and Dixie Boyrs Baseball State Director.


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