OHS cross country teams compete in state meet

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By D. Mark Mitchell

sports coulmnist

OHS girls and boys cross country teams participated in the AHSAA state meet in Moulton last weekend. The boys finished second; Homewood won the meet for the second consecutive year .
The Dawgs placed three runners in the top 15; Junior Ben Garner finished second with a time of15:58.71,  Jonathan Bizilia was seventh (16:26.16) and Hayden Washburn finished tenth (16.31:86).
The rest of the team and their order of finish are:
Braden Holloway (38), Marcus Chandler (86), David Bretz (143), Michael Geoffrey (146), Shaw Keyshawn (161) and Givon Clarke (172).
The OHS girls finished 15th in the meet.  Abby Alcantara led the Lady Bulldogs, finishing 64th. The rest of the team and their order of finish are  Nikera Durr (78), Savannah Karl (115), Brittney Golden (135), Tytkiera Evans (157), Shakerra Forbes (168) and Sarah Houston (183).
OPELIKA (12-0)ADVANCES TO QUARTERFINALS , BEATING HILLCREST 48-0
The OHS football team defeated Hillcrest 48-0 last Friday night at Bulldog Stadium. The win moved OHS to the quarterfinals at Spanish Fort tonight.
The Patriots won the toss and chose to receive the ball. After one first down, the Dawg defense forced a punt. Opelika took over at its own 36 yard. On first down, quarterback Jake Bentley saw James Moss lined  up to his left against “man” coverage. Bentley and Moss made eye contact before the snap of the ball.  A few seconds later, Moss caught a pass from Bentley for a 64-yard TD. OHS led 7-0 after Jack Slay kicked the PAT.
The rout was on. The Bulldogs added 31 points in the rest of the first half, shut down the Hillcrest offense and, in the second half, Coach Blackmon played every player dressed  in an Opelika uniform.
On the offensive side, James Moss made history Friday night. The senior became the first receiver to surpass 1000 yards in one season after catching 8 passes for 146 yards. Jake Bentley completed 19 of 23 for 329 yards and five touchdowns, and Josh Johnson rushed for 102 yards.
The OHS defense allowed three first downs in the opening half and shut down the Patriots’ Brian Robinson, holding him to 40 yards on 12 carries.
The win improved Opelika to 12-0 for the fourth time in school history and the first since 2006. Opelika has never won 13 games in a season.
OPELIKA (12-0) AT SPANISH FORT (12-0)
Opelika travels to Spanish Fort tonight for a quarterfinal matchup against the Toros. The two teams have some similarities: both  are 12-0 and both have head coaches with the last name Blackmon.
Spanish Fort is coached by Ben Blackmon, the younger brother of OHS head coach Brian Blackmon.
The Toros average 45 points per game: 228 yards receiving and 138 yards rushing. Pell City is the only common opponent . Opelika won 37-6 and Spanish Fort won 24-10.
SFHS  quarterback Tyler Johnston has a 34-0 record as the starting QB. Johnston led Spanish Fort to the 2013 state championship. He tore his knee during the ninth game of last season and was unable to finish the year. After surgery and 12 months of rehab, Tyler is back as the the QB.
The defense allowed Baldwin County to score 35 points, Blount 38 points and D’Iberville (MS) 24 points. No other team scored over 14 points on them.
KEYS TO
VICTORY
Coach Brian Blackmon and staff has OHS team playing together and at a high level. The players are not arrogant or cocky: they continue to stay grounded and work each day to improve.
OHS will overcome the four hour bus ride and playing ion the road tonight. Look for the Dawgs to shock high school football fans across the state of Alabama tonight after beating the Toros convincingly.
I predict a close start, but  Opelika will take a lead into the locker room at halftime. The Bulldogs will control the second half and improve to a school record 13-0.
The winner of our game will play the winner of the Benjamin Russell vs Bessemer City game next Friday night. The game will be at Bulldog Stadium if Opelika wins tonight as I predict.
LISTEN TO THE GAME ON THE
RADIO
Fans can listen to tonight’s Opelika vs Spanish Fort game on WKKR 97.7 Kicker FM or online at www.kickerfm.com. The pregame show starts at 6:30 with kickoff set for 7 pm.
OHS BASKETBALL
The OHS girls and boys basketball teams opened the season Tuesday night against Jeff Davis. The Girls lost 82-75 to the  defending 7A champion while the boys lost a double-overtime thriller by two points.
Both teams will play Newnan (Ga.) Nov. 24 at the OHS Sports Arena. The girls tip off at 6 and the boys at 7 pm
OMS BASKETBALL
The OMS eighth grade basketball team is 4-0 after wins over Smiths Station 48-31, Russell County 48-37, Valley 44-31 and Villa Rica Middle School in Troup County (Ga.) 60-25. Head Coach Blake Smalley has the team playing good basketball early in the season.
Tyric Chambers, Jaylen Stinson, Marien Warner, Kory McCoy and Jamius Mitchell scored in each game.
D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president of the  A-O Sports Council.

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