By D. Mark Mitchell
The OHS athletic department held the annual football banquet Monday night at the school. Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller, City Council President Eddie Smith and Police Chief John McEachern spoke to the team, parents and guests. All three expressed appreciation for the wonderful season that saw the Dawgs win a Region championship, beat rival Auburn, advance to the second round of the play-offs and finish 9-2 overall.
Coach Brian Blackmon spoke about the team and the impact the senior class made on the program. As tenth graders these guys helped Opelika play in the first ever Super 6 Football Championship game.
Fighting back his emotions, which was hard due to the love Coach Blackmon has for this group, he talked about how hard it is to let this senior class go.
He used a clip from the old “Andy Griffith show” to explain his feelings. In the clip, Andy had to tell Opie that it was time to let his pet birds fly away because they were grown up and were ready for the real world. It was the perfect video for the occasion, as Coach found himself having to let this class move on to their next phase in life.
The seniors on the team have an overall GPA of 3.3. These are of the kind of student athletes we have on our team.
The coaches named team captains for the year and announced winners of the GPA award and the “Mike Spain” character award.
The team captains are Drew Kyser, Quindesky Whitlow, Mathew Christian and Roy Yancey. The GPA award went to several athletes:
Winston Smith T with 4.20 GPA and Mathew Christian, Gage Young, Stanley Smith, Drew Kyser, Chazden Blackmon, James Ruffin and Hunter Weygand, all of whom had a GPA over 3.6.
The “Mike Spain” character award went to Winston Smith T. The award is named after former Opelika High teacher Mike Spain. Spain passed away years ago after battling cancer. He was a strong supporter of the OHS athletic program.
The returning players are already working out and running in preparation of the 2015 season.
This was my 35th football season as “Voice of the Bulldogs” and I want to thank each player and coach for making the 2014 season fun and exciting.
The Opelika girls basketball team (4-4) will host Auburn tonight at the Sports Arena on the OHS campus. This will be the first game between the two rivals since Auburn moved into the 7A classification. The Lady Tigers bring a talented team to OHS. The Lady Bulldogs, under Head Coach Devin Booth, have won 13 straight over Auburn High. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.
The boys basketball team(4-2) will play Auburn High boys following the girls game. Opelika Coach John Wadsworth has won 12 of 13 against Auburn.
The Junior Varsity game will start at 4 p.m. Admission is $5.
Today is the final day of AHSAA football championship games, the Super 7. The games started Wed. night with the 7A championship. Thursday the 1A, 3A and 5A championship games were played. In today’s games, the 4A championship kicks off at 11 a.m. featuring Leeds vs. Deshler. At 3 p.m. the 2A championship game between Elba and Fyffe begins.
The final game at 7 p.m. features the 6A championship between Saraland vs Clay-Chalkville. The Saraland Spartans defeated Opelika in overtime in the second round of the playoffs.
The cities of Opelika and Auburn team up with Tuscaloosa to provide the Super 7 two great venues to play. Opelika-Auburn alternate with Tuscaloosa in hosting the event.
You can listen to today’s games on i-Heart Media, WTLM, 1520 AM (11a.m. game), WZMG, 910 AM (3p.m game) and WKKR, 97.7 FM (7 p.m. game).
D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for I-Heart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys state director and Voice of the Opelika Bulldogs.