ON THE MARK
D. MARK MITCHELL
Opelika beat Russelll County, 52-35, last Friday in Seale to remain unbeaten in Region 2. The Bulldogs scored 24 first-half points and 28 third-quarter points to rout the Warriors. Offensively, Kaden Cooper rushed for 122 yards and scored three rushing TD’s to lead OHS.
Opelika’s 52 points were scored by the following: Charles Gagliano kicked a 25-yard field goal with 7:54 left in the first quarter, giving OHS a 3-0 lead. Jayden Doolittle scampered 63-yards for the first TD. JaKori Thornaton ran 25 yards for a score with 5:38 left in the second quarter. Cooper scored on a 2-yard run with three minutes left in the first half and opened the third quarter with a 1-yard run for another score. Javvontay Conner caught a 53-yard pass from Roman Gagliano for a touchdown. Cooper scored his third TD on a 3-yard run with 0:16 seconds left in the third quarter and OHS blacked a punt for another TD. Placekicker Charles Gagliano made every PAT.
Coach Speakman turned to the reserves in the fourth quarter, while RCHS kept his starters in the game.
Opelika returns home to play RE Lee on Friday at Bulldog Stadium. The Generals (4-1, R 3-1) opened the season with a 41-13 win over Jeff Davis, beat Eufaula 17-10, lost to Lanier 20-6, beat Russell County 28-14 and beat Carver 33-15.
Lee and Opelika will be playing for the 24th time, with OHS holding a one-game lead in the series (12-11). OHS beat LHS, 19-0, in 2020 on a rainy Saturday morning in Montgomery. The first game between the two schools in 1955 resulted in a 20-19 win for the Dogs. The Generals won the next 11 games until 1996. OHS has won the last 11 games dating back to 1999.
An Opelika win moves the Dogs one game closer to clinching their seventh straight region title, including the two ties in 2017 and 2018.
Fans can listen to OHS football on WKKR 97.7 Kickerfm, or online at www.kickerfm.com and at nfhsnetwork.com. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the gate or at Bubba’s Medicine Shop or Victory Design.
OHS FLAG FOOTBALL TEAM 4-0
The OHS flag football team won its second straight game beating Eufaula, 38-7, last week. Lady Bulldog quarterback Morgan Watts hit KeKe Williams with a 17-yard pass for the first TD. Cherdi Daniels intercepted a Eufaula pass and returned for a touchdown on the ensuing possession. Watts threw a second TD to Haley Sanders, covering 40 yards for the third score, and Sanders returned an interception for a touchdown and ran for another score in the second half. Williams added her second TD after catching a 40-yard pass from Williams. Ashley Hilyer converted two point after attempts.
The Lady Bulldogs then played Loachapoka and Eufala at home on Tuesday, winning both games to improve to 4-0.
The first drive of the first game against Loachapoka ended in a touchdown run by our quarterback Morgan Watts. The extra point was good on a pass from Watts to Ashanti Thomas. The second possession started with a long pass from Haley Sanders to Thomas who ran it in for a touchdown. On defense, Z Fanning had a pick-six for the Dawgs.The extra point was good on a pass from Watts to Sanders. Next time on offense, Watts ran it in for a Opelika touchdown. On the fifth offensive possession, Watts handed the ball off to Niya Walton who ran it all the way down the field for a touchdown. On the final possession, Opelika’s second quarterback, Jamiah Williams, came in and scored on a touchdown run. The defense only let in one touchdown run during the heavy downpour last night. The Dawgs won by a final score of 43-6.
In the second game against Eufala, the ‘Dawgs started out slowly, but picked up momentum when Watts had a 25-yard long pass to Thomas who ran it in for a touchdown. The ‘Dawgs went for two for the extra point and were successful on a pass from Watts to KeKe Williams. On the next defensive set, Fanning stepped up and intercepted the ball and ran it back in for a touchdown. In the second half, Z had another defensive interception, which set OHS up for a touchdown play. Watts found Ashley Hilyer for a short, 5-yard pass into the end zone. On the next offensive set, Watts found Hilyer again and she ran 20 yards for a touchdown. The OHS defense held strong and did not give up any points. The game ended 26-0 in favor of Opelika.
OHS CROSS COUNTRY
Opelika girls and boys cross country teams participated in the “Jesse Owen Classic” at Oakville Indian Mounds in Oakville. The meet is a preview of the state championship, which will take place on the same course.
Breckin Gould crossed the line in 32nd place in the top division — the Gold division — with a time of 19:37.69. The boys’ top finisher, Chas Brewer, placed 8th in the silver division with a time of 16:54.26.
In total, Opelika ran 13 girls and 12 boys at the one-day meet. The Bulldog cross county teams travel to Smiths Station Saturday to run in the “Panther Invitational”.
Congratulations Jarell Stinson for committing to play football at Ole Miss. The senior announced his choice last week after changing his mind about going to Auburn. Stinson’s older brother, Jalen, is currently playing at Duke.
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 Dixie Boys Baseball state director.