D. Mark Mitchell


Tahe OHS football team (1-2, R 1-0) beat Lanier 24-7 in Montgomery’s Crampton Bowl last Thursday night. Following a 0-2 start, the win was the first regular season and region win for Opelika.

Opelika’s reserve quarterback JT McArdle threw a 45-yard TD pass to Kaden Cooper for the first score of the game with 6:19 left in the opening quarter. (Gagliano made the PAT, 7-0). Lanier answered with a 37-yard touchdown pass from Braylon Jones to Cory Haigler less than three minutes later. (PAT good 7-7).

Both offenses struggled to find a rhythm, however, Charles Gagliano nailed a 32-yard field goal with six minutes left in the first half, giving OHS a 10-7 lead at halftime.

In the second half, Cooper added his second score of the game, running for a 1-yard touchdown with 5:39 left in the third quarter. (Gagliano added his second PAT, making it 17-7).

Jayden Stinson ended any thoughts of a Lanier win, returning an interception

35-yard TD for the final score of the game.

Gagliano added the PAT, making the final score 24-7.

Throughout the game, neither team was able to get their offense consistently clicking.

OHS tallied 224 total yards, 134 rushing yards and 90 passing yards, while Lanier managed to gain 121 total yards, 41 rushing yards and 80 passing yards.

Bulldog starting QB Jackson Bates struggled, accounting for two interceptions compared to four Poet turnovers.

In light of Bates’ struggles (he finished 7-of-10 for -3 yards), McArdle earned some extra playing time and ended the night 9-of-13 for 90 yards.

John Thomas led the Dogs rushing attack with 53 yards on 12 attempts. Cooper accounted for 99 yards of offense — 51 yards receiving and 48 yards rushing.

Unfortunately, Stinson injured his shoulder and will be out two to four weeks, depending on how quickly he heals.

Next week, the Dogs return home to play region foe Eufaula (1-2) in their second Region game of the season.

The Tigers opened the season with a 40-8 win over Carroll, but have lost two in a row. Central shut out the Tigers 33-0 and RE Lee beat them 17-10 in their region opener.

Historically, EHS has won 22 of the 32 games against OHS.

The Bulldogs have won three straight, however, including a 28-21 victory last season.

This is another winnable game for OHS, as EHS appears to be struggling to find consistency on both sides.

The Dogs may be without several players Friday night due to injuries and a few players deciding to quit the team.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Bulldog Stadium on the OHS campus. Tickets can be purchased at Bubba’s Medicine Shop and Victory design. Bulldog Stadium ticket office opens at 5:30 p.m. Friday.


The Ninth grade football team blew out Benjamin Russell, 45-0, in the season opener last week at Bulldog Stadium.

Jamari Miller, scored one of his three TD’s on the opening kickoff. Miller returned a punt for a touchdown and caught a pass for his third TD.

Calvin Hughley and Tommie Johnson Jr. scored rushing touchdowns. Malik Autrey scored a TD after blocking a punt and scooping it up and returning for a TD. The Dog defenses added two safeties, securing the victory for the freshman team.

The ninth graders host Valley Sept. 13 at 5 p.m.


A few weeks ago, Fred Woods passed away. Mr. Fred, as I was told to call him, was one of the managing partners for the group that formed the Opelika Observer. I had the privilege of knowing Mr. Fred and his sister Ellen Strozier for many years. Both were fine people and are now resting in heaven.

I wanted to express my gratitude and love for Fred Woods! He was very good to me and I consider him a close friend.

God Bless Mr. Fred, Rest in Peace!

I love you.

D. Mark Mitchell is the sports director at iHeartMedia, host of “On the Mark” Fox Sports the Game 910-1310, co-chair of the Auburn-Opelika Sports Council, chairman of the Super 7 and the Dixie Boys Baseball state director. 


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