Football athletes stay busy with 7 on 7 tourneys

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By. D. Mark Mitchell
Sports Editor

OPELIKA ATHLETICS

The OHS football team continues to prepare for the 2014 season. Players are conditioning and weight training during the week.

The Dawgs participated in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes 7 on 7 tournament at the Opelika Sportsplex. Opelika finished second behind Robert E. Lee. Nine teams participated in the event.

Coach Brian Blackmon took his guys to the National 7 on 7 Select Tournament in Hoover yesterday. This is the largest 7 on 7 tournament in the South. The two-day event ends tonight.

The Alabama High School Athletic Association will hold “All-Star Week” July 20-25 in Montgomery. High school coaches, administrators and athletes will gather in the Capitol City for a week of all-star games, coaching clinics and meetings.

Every high school sport will be represented at the annual All-Star Week.

The AHSAA mandates all high school athletic activities are off during this week.You can find more information by going to the AHSAA website.

OPELIKA’S JEFF HILYER HONORED BY AHSAA AND NFHS

Opelika resident and high school and college football official Jeff Hilyer was honored by the National Federation of State High Schools Association.

Hilyer was this year’s winner of the NFHS Officials Association Citation. The award was presented to Jeff at the 95th annual meeting in Boston on July 1. The NFHS Citation award honors individuals who have made significant contributions to high school athletics.

Jeff has been a licensed high school official since 1980, officiated two AHSAA State Championship football games and two All-Star football games. He has been the president of the Big East Officials Association, the Phenix City Officials Association (15 years) and an instructor for AHSAA (20 years).

Hilyer is a member of the Sun Belt Conference officials and a supplement official for the SEC. You might have seen him last December on national TV refereeing the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl game in Boise.

Jeff started his career umpiring softball, baseball and recreation football in Opelika. He is a lawyer and accountant here in Opelika, owner of Hilyer and Associates.

Hilyer has just been asked to serve on the National Federation High School Rules Committee.

I have known Jeff Hilyer since I was in high school. He is the definition of a professional Official. When you watch a football game in which Jeff is the referee, you never know he is on the field.

Jeff understands it’s about the players and the game. Nobody watches officials – you watch the game. He allows the game to flow smoothly while maintaining the rules. He is not a screamer, and when he throws his flag, you know it’s a legitimate penalty and not one you have to have a rule book to understand.

Congratulations Jeff! You’re a true professional.

OPELIKA DIXIE BOYS

The Opelika Dixie Boys All-Star baseball team advanced to the State Tournament in Muscle Shoals this weekend. The Opelika All-Stars will play Sunday. The nine-team double elimination tournament is scheduled to end July 23.

The State Champion will advance to Bossier City, La., for the World Series, beginning Aug. 1.

ON THE MARK ON THE RADIO

You can listen to On The Mark radio show weekdays 7-9 a.m. on WTLM 1520AM or online at www.kickerfm.com/sports.

Jeff Sasser and I host the show that is centered around local and high school sports.

Former Coaches Dan Washburn, Larry Gore and Joe Wilson are weekly guests.

D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for Qantum Radio, Alabama Dixie Boys state director and vice president of the A-O Sports Council. 

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