By D. Mark Mitchell
Opelika (0-2) lost to rival Auburn (2-0) 22-15 last Friday night at Duck Samford Stadium. Opelika quarterback Cade Blackmon threw a touchdown pass to Jaylin Stinson that covered 80 yards, with 8:20 remaining in the opening quarter. The Dawgs converted a two point play, taking an 8-0 in front of a stunned Auburn crowd.
Auburn quarterback Griffin Speaks threw a 15 yard touchdown pass to Justin Brooks with 7:57 remaining in the second quarter, cutting the Opelika lead to a point. The Bulldogs added their second score with 1:27 left in the half, after Blackmon hit Jamius Mitchell over the middle of the field on a 29-yard catch-and-run Baker Rowton added the PAT, giving the Bulldogs a 15-7 lead at halftime.
The second half belonged to the Auburn defense, holding Opelika scoreless for the last 24 minutes of the game. The Tigers moved the ball, controlling the clock, but missed a total of three field goals. Auburn scored two touchdowns, one in the third and fourth quarters. Speaks plowed in the end zone from the one yard for a score and Jay Walker sprinted four yards for the game-winning score.
Offensive stats for Opelika: Blackmon finished 8 -of-16 passing for 131 yards along with 45 rushing yards, 2 TDs and one interception. Brantan Barnett rushed for 108 yards on 14 carries, Jamius Mitchell caught two passes for 41 yards and a TD and Jaylen Stinson caught one pass for 80 yards and a score and led the defense with 12 tackles including 6 solo’s. Jaquan Foot added 9 tackles including 5-solo’s, Corbin Nunn and Miles Magee added 7 tackles apiece.
SELMA vs OELIKA, BULLDOG STADIUM
Friday night will be more than the home opener for the Opelika Bulldog football team, it’s Homecoming and the Region opener.
The Selma Saints (1-0) will arrive at Bulldog Stadium for the first time since 2005, a 51-6 loss in a first round playoff game. The two teams have played twelve games. Selma reeled off 6 straight starting with a 19-0 win in 1960. Opelika reeled off the last six wins, starting with a 34-0 win in 1984. The Saints have scored 21 combined points against the Dawgs in the last six games.
SHS defeated rival Southside 60-20 last Friday in the season opener. The Saints have struggled in football, winning 5 or more game seven times since 1985. This is the Region opener for both teams. Selma is “Just what the doctor ordered” for this Opelika football team. The Dawgs are 0-2 after playing formidable foes. Look for the Bulldogs to flex their muscles, play physical and hard Friday night. Opelika has a better program than Selma, from facilities to the teams. The Bulldogs will take their frustration out on the Saints, scoring early and often while limiting the Saints to minimum yards.
Although 0-2 is not what the coaches, players and supporters anticipated… remember Opelika has more games ahead that decide Region Championship and a trip to the playoffs.
This week’s game is Homecoming for OHS, the 2018-19 Homecoming Court will be presented at halftime. Kickoff is set for 7pm at Bulldog Stadium.
D. Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State Director and vice president of the A-O Sports Council.