OHS football makes first impression

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D. Mark Mitchell

On the Mark
By D. Mark Mitchell

Head coach Erik Speakman decided to end spring practice by dividing the players into two teams, Red and Black. Upcoming ninth graders practiced with the team during the spring and were apart of the game type scrimmage last Friday night. Speakman, appearing on “On the Mark” radio show, talked about replacing the many senior players that have been apart of the success of the last two years. Many positions, including quarterback, offensive lineman and running back are open due to graduation.

The controlled scrimmage ended in a lopsided score with team Red winning, 47-26. Speed seemed to be a positive during the scrimmage.

The Bulldogs will have a few weeks off before starting summer workouts. OHS will open the 2021 season, Aug. 20 against Callaway in LaGrange.

BUTTON NAMED FLAG FOOTBALL COACH

OHS named Jaclyn Button as the NEW head Flag football coach last week. Coach Button is the head girls soccer coach and has helped with girls basketball in the past. The AHSAA announced a month ago, they will offer girls flag football for all member schools. The Atlanta Falcons, The Blank Foundation and NFL are teaming up to help high schools get started by offering “grants” to high schools that apply.

Coach Button said the season will be in the fall and she is hoping for an eight game schedule –  four games at home and four games on the road. The team will consist of 23 players and two coaches. Games will be played at the field inside Sam Mason Track. Tryouts were held Monday.

SCHOLARSHIPS

Four OHS senior student-athletics signed scholarships last week. Brandon Howard signed a basketball scholarship at Snead State. Trinity Love signed to run track at Auburn University. Caleb Phillip and Dalen Torbert signed track scholarship’s at William Cary University. CONGRATULATIONS!

STATE CHAMPIONSHIP TRACK TEAM’S TO GET CHAMPIONSHIP RINGS

The OHS indoor track team and the outdoor track team won State Championships this past season. Each team member will receive a championship ring due to the generosity of local business, Mayor Fuller and City Council President Eddie Smith.

The team needed $13,000.00 to order rings for each member of both teams. The following business contributed, Moore Construction, KC Concrete and Foundation, Daniels Custom Siding, Fenn Plumbing, Dynamic Drywall, Quality Wood Floors, D & S Tax Service, Access Mobility Transportation Service LLC , the Orthopedic Clinic and personal donations from  Fuller and Smith.

Opelika Softball

Coach Randy Belyue has resigned as head softball coach at OHS after one full season. Belyue, a 1987 graduate of Opelika,  was hired in 2019 to replace Tina Deese.

Belyue was unable to coach his first season due to COVID.

This years’ team started slowly but finished with a 5-1 area record and hosted the area tournament.

 Belyue spoke with me by phone, saying “I enjoyed being around the team and assistant coaches, they were all phenomenal! I wish OCS would have helped more behind the scenes. They would not let allow me to fundraise nor allow OMS players to join the varsity. I look forward to my next opportunity and wish all the players the best. They are good kids!”

AHSAA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR UPDATE

The Alabama High School Athletic Association conducted three interviews Monday in an effort to find the next executive director. Steve Savarese announced his retirement mid April at a press conference in the AHSAA headquarters in Montgomery. Savarese told the Central Board of Control, July 1 will be his last day.

Central Board President Van Phillips, appearing “On the Mark” radio show, said he hoped to have the new director in place by June, which gives the new director a month with Savarese.

I look for the AHSAA Central Board to name the new executive director before the end of this week. Stay tuned for details as they break.

D. Mark Mitchell is the Sports Director at iHeartMedia, host of “On the Mark” on 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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