Garner places first at Warhawk Cross Country Challenge

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By D. Mark Mitchell

sports columnist

Special to the Opelika Observer Opelika junior Ben Garner, right, finished in first place in the Auburn-Montgomery Warhawk Cross Country Challenge last weekend in Montgomery. Opelika finished  second as a team  helped by  three top ten finishes. Garner’s teammates Hayden Washburn, left (16:51.00) and Jonathan Bizilia (17:15.00) finished fifth and tenth respectively.
Special to the Opelika Observer
Opelika junior Ben Garner, right, finished in first place in the Auburn-Montgomery Warhawk Cross Country Challenge last weekend in Montgomery. Opelika finished second as a team helped by three top ten finishes. Garner’s teammates Hayden Washburn, left (16:51.00) and Jonathan Bizilia (17:15.00) finished fifth and tenth respectively.

OHS CROSS
COUNTRY
Opelika junior Ben Garner finished in first place in the Auburn-Montgomery Warhawk Cross Country Challenge last weekend in Montgomery. Opelika finished  second as a team  helped by  three top ten finishes.  Garner’s teammates Hayden Washburn (16:51.00) and Jonathan Bizilia (17:15.00) finished fifth and tenth respectively.
Braden Holloway (17:26.00) finished 12th, Kevin Lazenby was 17th (17:34.00), Marcus Chandler  (18:13.00) 25th, David Bretz 42nd (19:01.00), Keyshawn Shaw 77th (20:03.00) Givion Clark (20:22.00) 85th and Michael Crisler (20:27.00) 89th.
Opelika will run in final regular season meet, the Tiger Classic, tomorrow morning at Kiesel Park in Auburn.  The sectional meet is November 5 at Gateway Park in Montgomery.
OHS FOOTBALL 9-0
Opelika (9-0, R-6-0) defeated Chilton County (3-4, R-2-3) by the score of 50-6 last Friday night in Clanton. The Bulldogs travelled to Clanton for the first time in the history of the schools. The Tiger fans filled the stadium for the last regular season home game and Senior Night. CCHS knew it was important to start fast and hope for a miracle.
Chilton County won the toss and chose to receive the football to open the game Friday night. The Tigers marched 77 yards in 14 plays and scored a touchdown on a fourth down pass to take a 6-0 lead after a missed PAT.
Trailing 6-0, Opelika took over on the 26 yard line after the kickoff. Three plays later, the Dawgs led 7-6. Josh Johnson rushed 27 yards for the score and Jack Slay added the PAT with 5:45 left in the opening quarter.
Chilton County would not score again and struggled to move the ball on the ground or through the air. OHS would score the next 47 points to cap off a 6-0 Region record for the season.
Opelika is off this week before hosting Enterprise October 30 at Bulldog Stadium in the last regular season game. Coach Blackmon gave the team off Monday and Tuesday this week The Dawgs returned Wednesday for a regular practice. The coaches are working to improve and fine tune things that will help win games in the playoffs. So far no player has suffered a serious injury.
The Dawgs will prepare for Enterprise next week.
Coach Blackmon is splitting his staff up tonight to scout. Some will go to the Enterprise vs Smiths Station game while others will attend Daphne vs Baldwin County. The winner of the latter game will be our first round playoff opponent
The Dawgs have a chance to finish 10-0, for the first time since 2003. The Enterprise game theme is PINK OUT FOR BREAST CANCER. Fans are asked to wear pink to show support for Breast Cancer Awareness.
Coach Blackmon will have his team wear pink socks to show their support.
A GLANCE AT OPELIKA’S PATH THROUGH THE 6A PLAYOFFS
All Opelika fans are excited about the OHS football team After all, they are 9-0. They beat rivals Auburn, Central, Benjamin Russell and Valley. They won the Region 3 championship and have a chance to finish 10-0!
I am just as excited and look forward to watching the team make a run. It is going to be fun and I believe we can go a long way. Below is an advance look at the playoffs.
Opelika won the Region 3 championship for the second straight year. The Bulldogs will host the fourth seed from Region 1, either Baldwin County or Daphne. These two teams are tied for fourth and play each other tonight. The winner will travel to Opelika November 6 in the first round of the AHSAA Playoffs.
The winner of this game could play any of these four teams: Dothan, Northview, Hillcrest or Northridge. Opelika will probably play at home week two and travel to Spanish Fort for the third round. The semifinal game could be at Bulldog Stadium. The Super 7 championship is at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, December 3-5.
Remember, everything after the first playoff round is my best guess and the results are not guaranteed. The game of football can take unusual bounces. That’s the main reason they play the games. Stay tuned.
OHS VOLLEYBALL FINISHES SECOND IN AREA
Opelika volleyball defeated Russell County in the first round of the area tournament, advancing to the finals against Benjamin Russell. The Wildcats defeated OHS to capture the area championship while Opelika settled for second place.
The Lady Bulldogs volleyball team will play in the 6A AHSAA state playoffs  tonight at 6:45 in the Multiplex at Crampton Bowl against Chilton County.
D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president ofthe  A-O Sports Council.

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