By D. Mark Mitchell
OPELIKA “PINK OUT” VS ENTERPRISE, CHANCE FOR 10-0 RECORD
The Opelika High School football team (9-0) hosts Enterprise (5-4) tonight in the last 2015 regular season game at Bulldog Stadium.
It’s PINK OUT NIGHT at Bulldog Stadium: fans are asked to wear something pink to show their support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Opelika All-Sports Booster Club will give away pink shakers to fans. Bulldog players will even wear pink socks tonight.
OHS has a chance to finish the regular season 10-0, for the first time since 2003 when head coach Brian Blackmon was offensive coordinator. The 2003 team finished 12-1, losing to Daphne in the quarterfinals.
The Bulldogs were idle last week, after playing nine straight games including 14 straight weeks of practice. The off-week will help Opelika in a number of ways.
Players were off four straight days which allowed time for injured players to heal and all of them to rest. Coaches had a rare two-day break to be with family and get some well-deserved rest, themselves.
The bottom line is, if OHS plays for the Super 7 State Football Championship at Bryant-Denny Stadium, we will be playing our fifteenth game of the season. We can’t expect to make it that far without some rest along the way.
The Wildcats travel to Bulldog Stadium having won four of their last five games including three in a row. Their season started with a win over Northview followed by three consecutive blowout losses: to Jeff Davis, Colquitt County, Ga., and Auburn.
EHS defeated Dothan, Central, Auburn and Prattville in the second half of the season.
Enterprise has scored 163 points while allowing 205. This is one of the reasons the Cats are 5-4.
KEYS TO VICTORY
Tonight is Senior Night and PINK OUT night.
Both teams are playing great football.
The Dawgs have not been tested for four quarters since September 25, at Phenix City against Central.
OHS has dominated its opponents. Opelika is a great team with great players and coaches. The schedule included six Region games and four non-region games: Auburn (7A), Central (7A), Enterprise (7A) and Hillcrest (6A). The four non-Region opponents all made the playoffs which means Opelika played seven teams that earned playoff berths.
Tonight’s game has no Region or playoff implications. It’s the final game of the regular season. But it is the only remaining barrier to a perfect, 10-0, regular season.
Coach Blackmon believes you play to win and Opelika will play to win tonight. “I don’t know how to coach to lose,” said Coach Blackmon this week on my morning sports show “On The Mark”. “We have a chance to go 10-0 since 2003. You don’t go 10-0 much, it’s hard. We will go out and play hard and try to win!” Blackmon said with authority.
The Bulldogs will win tonight and finish 10-0. We have too many skill players and are “coached up.” The Dawg defense continues to improve, allowing only six points in the last two games. The offense averages over 40 points a game, including 71, 55, 50 and 45 points in four games.
This is one of, if not the, best offensive teams I have ever seen. We have numerous players that can make things happen and can score at anytime. The special teams are solid. Snaps by Austin Morgan are near perfect, every time; Jack Slay has been delight to watch. Slay is a perfect five for five on field goals and only missed two PATs. Jake Bentley has punted like he plays QB, extremely well.
Opelika is a total team. The Dawgs will head to the playoffs 10-0.
LISTEN TO OPELIKA/ENTERPRISE ON WKKR
Fans can listen to tonight’s OHS vs Enterprise game on WKKR 97.7 Kicker FM. The pre-game show starts at 6:30, with kickoff at 7. You can listen online at kickerfm.com/ click listen live.
AHSAA 6A PLAYOFFS
The AHSAA football playoffs start next Friday. Opelika will host Daphne at Bulldog Stadium; kickoff is set for 7 p.m. General admission tickets are $8 apiece and no reserved seats are allowed. Tickets can be purchased at Bubba’s Medicine Shop, Victory Design and Rice Banking.
The OHS cross country teams will compete in the Sectional Meet next Thursday at Gateway Park in Montgomery. Opelika is the favorite to win the Sectionals. Ben Garner, the OHS number 1 runner, will need a great meet from Hayden Washburn, Kevin Lazenby, Jonathan Bizilia, Braden Holloway and other members of the team.
The top three schools and individuals advance to the State Meet in Moulton the second week in November.
D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president of the A-O Sports Council.