On the Mark By D. Mark Mitchell

The Opelika High Football team is scheduled to open the 2020 Season against Callaway High in Troup County, Georgia, Aug. 21. The Georgia High School Athletic Association is discussing a plan that could cancel the game against Callaway. GHSAA is considering mandating that no Georgia member school would be allowed to play a team from another state. This includes not allowing teams to travel out of Georgia to football games in another state.

If this rule goes into effect, OHS will not be able to play Callaway during week one.

Central High also opens its season against a team from Georgia, which would (if the mandate is effected) leave an open date for Aug. 21.

Central’s new football coach, Patrick Nix, has asked OHS coach Erik Speakman if the two teams could open the season on Aug. 21 in Phenix City. If the change becomes official, the game will be played in Phenix City’s Garrett-Harrelson Stadium on Wayne Trawick Field. The game would be played at 7 p.m. central time. Opelika and Central would split gate revenues after deducting game expenses.

Nothing is official, but the change could become a reality. We will keep you updated as more information becomes available.


Six high school football teams have new head coaches heading into the 2020 season:

• Buster Daniel retired from Alabama public schools and took over as head football coach at Lee Scott Academy.

• Reco Newton was elevated from defensive coordinator to head football coach at Loachapoka High.

• LC Cole left Loachapoka High to become head coach at Park Crossing.

• Valley named Adam Hunter as head football coach; he has served as the athletic director and assistant football coach. Hunter will remain the VHS athletic director.

• Lafayette hired Juan Williams to replace James Lucas, who resigned at the end of the 2019 season.

• Central hired Patrick Nix after Jamey Dubose retired and accepted the head job at Lowndes High in Valdosta, Georgia. Nix left Pinson Valley to join the Red Devils.

• Roger McDonald was hired to take over at Dadeville after a long search following the retirement of longtime head coach Richard White at the end of the 2019 season.


It appears fans will be able to listen to and watch Opelika High Football Live this fall. All home games will be broadcast live on YouTube and on WKKR 97.7 Kicker FM.

This will be the first year OHS airs all home football games (and road games, as permitted by the home school) on YouTube Live. All games will continue to air live on 97.7 Kicker FM, online at kickerfm.com and on the IHeartRadio app.

Opelika has aired games online on the NFHS network for the past several years. Viewers paid a single game fee or monthly subscription. The cost to watch Opelika football games on YouTube has not been released. Viewers will be able to watch games while listening to the 97.7 Kicker FM broadcasts.

The AHSAA bylaws allow the home school to determine if the visiting team can air a game live through channels other than the NFHS network. Opelika is making these arrangements due to COVID-19. At this time, it is unknown how many folks will be allowed to attend games and how many will be willing to watch in the stands.

Opelika football has aired on live radio for more than 60 years. Jack Smollon, owner of WJHO 1400 AM, was the original radio host for the Bulldogs.

The Opelika Board of Education allowed Fuller Broadcasting, WKKR 97.7, to air games in the late 80s. After a couple of years, WKKR became the sole home for Opelika Football on the radio.

Stay tuned for more details.

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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