By D. Mark Mitchell
Last Friday night at Bulldog Stadium the festivities started before kickoff. The OHS football team, cheerleaders and band honored the seniors during the pre-game. Opelika resident, American Hero and recipient of the Congrssional Medal of Honor, CSM (ret.) Bennie Adkins was the honorary game captain and flipped the coin in the middle of the field. Then the teams played football.
The Opelika Bulldogs (7-1, R-5-0) wrapped up Region play with a 66-20 victory over Chilton County on senior night.
Hunter Weygand kicked a 37-yard field goal with 7:56 left in the first quarter. CCHS then took a 7-3 lead after Kelshaun White returned a kickoff 95 yards for a TD on the ensuing play.
The Dawgs scored 45 points after White’s return and led 52-20 at halftime. Coach Blackmon chose to sit most of his starters after the first possession of the second half. OHS won the second half 14-0.
Opelika scored points on offense, defense and special teams. Hunter Weygand kicked a 37-yard field goal, defensive lineman Jared “Big Baby” Gentry returned a fumble 22 yards for a TD, Zay Mitchell returned a interception 28 yards for a touchdown, Josh Johnson rushed for three scores (1, 3 and 1-yard runs) and Mathew Christian connected with James Moss for three TD’s (58, 14 and 9 yards).
The defense continued to play at a high level. Leading tackler Roy Yancey continues to rehab his injured knee and could play in the playoffs.
BULLDOGS OPEN THIS WEEK
Coach Blackmon gave his team Monday and Tuesday off this week because the team has an open week. OHS will travel to Enterprise next week to play the Wildcats in the last regular season game.
Opelika will host a playoff game the following week. The Dawgs will play at home in the first round of the playoffs. The opponent will come from the Region that includes Carver, Park Crossing, Dothan, Stanhope Elmore and Wetumpka. We should know our opponent after this week’s games.
OPELIKA DOMINATES 6A REGION 3
The Bulldogs remained in class 6A with new teams in the Region after the AHSAA added a seventh class and restructured the schools prior to this season. Opelika dominated Region 3, beating Pell City 53-0, Benjamin Russell 23-0, Oxford 45-21, Valley 52-14, Chelsea 60-14 and Chilton County 66-20. That is a combined score of 299 to 69.
This is impressive! I know the Region is not as strong as some but Opelika beat these teams handily in all three phases (special teams, defense and offense) of the game.
The four non-region game opponents – Carver, Auburn, Central and Enterprise – all made the playoffs. Going on the road to Montgomery, Oxford, Alex City, Auburn, Valley and Enterprise have helped prepare this team for big games in the playoffs.
The Bulldogs should make a run to get to Jordan-Hare. I am not saying we will play for or win the state championship. But, I like the way this team plays together and the players seem to get along as well as any team I have seen.
I look forward to watching our team in the playoffs beginning in two weeks!
Congratulations, Opelika Bulldogs, 6A Region 3 champs!
The OHS cross country teams will compete in the sectional meet next Thursday in Montgomery at Gateway Park. The OHS boys should win this meet with ease. The Bulldogs could have five or six guys finish in the top seven.
If Opelika performs as expected, they will get a chance to win a state championship in a few weeks. Stay tuned for the update.
D. Mark Mitchell is sports director for Qantum Radio, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president of the A-O Sports Council.