Holiday Break Happenings

D. Mark Mitchell


Things were quiet during Thanksgiving week for Opelika athletics, except for Saturday. The University of Alabama’s Million Dollar Band practiced at Bulldog Stadium Saturday morning, prior to the Alabama/Auburn game. OHS band director Neil Sasser help coordinate the visit to help the University of Alabama. This was a treat for band students and visitors that were in attendance.

Opelika’s girls’ and boys’ basketball teams played games during the week of Thanksgiving. The Lady Bulldogs lost at Hardaway, 54-44, dropping their overall record at 2-2.

First year head coach Blake Smalley was forced to play with his leading scorers due to early foul troubles. Haley Sanders scored and Erica Mathews led the team offensively, scoring 18-points and 17-points respectively.

The OHS boys (0-2) lost to Shaw, 67-51, in Columbus last week. The ‘Dogs were led offensively by Landon Lee’s 12 points and Isaiah Knight’s 10 points. Lee and Knight led the way on the other end of the floor as well, crashing the boards and pulling down seven and nine rebounds, respectively.

Both teams traveled to play Benjamin Russell in Alex City, but the results were not available at press time. The two teams start a four-game home stand Friday night against Hewitt-Trussville in the Mainstreet gym. Girls start at 5:30 p.m. and the boys follow at 7 p.m. The Dogs host Valley on Dec. 7, Benjamin Russell on Dec. 9 and Central on Dec. 10.

SUPER 7, 2021

The Alabama High School Athletic Associations Super 7 football Championship returned to Birmingham for the first time since 2008. Since December 2009, the Super 6 and Super 7 football championship rotated between Jordan-Hare and Bryant-Denny. The cities of Auburn, Opelika and Tuscaloosa put together a team to lure the football championship games out of Birmingham (Legion Field) in 2009. The games rotated between the two stadiums for 12 years.

The university not hosting the Iron Bowl hosts the Super 7. Two years ago, Birmingham secured funds for a new stadium beside the BJCC and Sheriton Hotel. Birmingham City officials reached out to then AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese about bidding to host the Super 7. 

Saverese asked the Super 7 representatives from Auburn-Opelika, Auburn Mayor Ron Anders and myself, along with Tuscaloosa’s Don Staley to meet at their headquarters in Montgomery. After two years of discussions, the AHSAA signed a 12-year contract to host the Super 7 at Jordan-Hare Stadium, Bryant-Denny Stadium and Protective Stadium in Birmingham. Each host four Super 7 Championships during the 12-year period.

The new agreement allows for student-athletes participating in the Super 7 to experience playing in the best stadiums in the country, not just Alabama.

Birmingham opened this year’s Super 7 on Wednesday, Dec. 1, with the inaugural Flag Football Championship game, featuring Smiths Station and Hewitt-Trussville at 3 p.m. The 7A Championship game, Thompson versus Central (PC), followed at 7 p.m.

Thursday’s schedule

Class 3A, 11 a.m. Montgomery Academy (11-3) vs Piedmont (12-2)

Class 1A, 3 p.m. Wadley (13-1) vs Sweet Water (13-0)

Class 5A, 7 p.m. Pleasent Grove (12-1) vs Sweet Water (13-0)

Friday’s schedule

Class 4A, 11 a.m.Vigor (13-1) vs Oneonta (13-1)

Class 2A, 3 p.m. Cleveland (12-2) vs Clarke County (12-2)

Class 6A, 7 p.m. Clay-Chalkville (14-0) vs Hueytown (13-1)

You can listen to all seven games on iHeart-Radio’s, FOX Sports the Game 910AM and 1310AM presented by the Orthopaedic Clinic. The AHSAA radio network will broadcast each game from Birmingham’s Protective Stadium.

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.  


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