ON THE MARK
D. MARK MITCHELL
The Opelika High School varsity football team improved its overall record to 3-2 after beating Carver, 28-6, last Thursday in Cramton Bowl in Montgomery. Opelika used a balanced attack — rushing for 158 yards on 38 carries and throwing 13 passes for 147 yards — to amass a total of 305 yards offensively on the night. The Bulldogs scored two touchdowns in the first and second half while holding the Wolverines scoreless, except for an interception return for a TD by the Carver defense in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs four touchdowns were accounted for by: Kaden Cooper (4-yard rushing TD to open the scoring; 1-yard run in the third quarter), Shawn Jones (54-yard reception from Roman Gagliano in the second quarter) and Calvin Hughley (17-yards for the final score). Charles Gagliano made all four PAT’s.
Offensively, sophomore quarterback Gagliano was 5-for-5 for 112 passing yards. Cooper rushed a whopping 37 times for 106 yards and two TD’s. Jones caught four passes for 106 yards. Defensively, Tay Gay recorded three tackles and three assists. Taylor Love had two tackles and three assists. Nick Covington and Will Garner added two tackles and two assists apeice.
Opelika (3-2, R 3-0) travels to Phenix City Friday night, to play the Central Red Devils (5-0) on Wayne Trawick Field in Garrett-Harrelson Stadium. The Red Devils, 5-0 overall and 3-0 in 7A Region 2, have outscored opponents 219 to 59 points. The Bulldogs and the Red Devils have played one common opponent this season, Eufaula. Central beat the Tigers 33-0; Opelika defeated the Tigers 21-0. CHS opened the season beating Peach County (Georgia), 43-23, Eufaula 33-0, Smiths Station 56-0, Jeff Davis 52-6 and Enterprise 36-27.
Friday night’s game will be the 79th game between the two rivals with the Red Devils holding a 46-32 edge over the Bulldogs. CHS has won seven out of the last 10 games, including five in a row.
Fans can purchase tickets by going online at www.gofan.co or listen to the broadcast of the Opelika/Central game on WKKR 97.7 Kicker fm, online at kickerfm.com/listenlive or download the iHeartRadio app on your smartphone and search WKKR. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. CST.
CROSS COUNTRY HOST OPELIKA INVITATIONAL
The OHS Cross Country teams host the annual “Opelika Invitational”, Saturday at the Sportplex. The following teams have entered as of Sunday, Sept. 19: Auburn, Beauregard, Benjamin Russell, Central, Columbus, Dadeville, Handley, Northside Columbus, Pike Road, Robert E Lee, Russell County, Smiths Station and Valley.
Fans are encouraged to support the OHS and OMS cross country teams. Admission is free. The varsity girls start the meet at 8 a.m., followed by varsity boys at 8:40 a.m. and the middle school division (7th and 8th graders) at 9:20 a.m..
FRESHMAN FOOTBALL TEAMS BEATS VALLEY
Opeliika’s ninth grade football team defeated Valley, 38-0, last Thursday at Bulldog Stadium. KaJaden Holloway scored two touchdowns and quarterback Brodie Jones threw a 10-yard TD pass to Drue Gagliano and ran 15 yards for another score. Johnii Cesena made all four PAT’s. The freshman bulldogs improved to 2-0.
For several years, Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller, ESG President Mike Hilyer, Council President Eddie Smith and OHS Softball coaches Tina Deese and Randy Belyue have discussed upgrades at the softball fields at West Ridge Park. Those upgrades will now happen thanks to the Opelika City Council and Fuller. During the Sept. 7 Opelika City Council meeting, the Opelika City Council voted 5-0 to spend almost $500,000.00 to turf both softball fields at West Ridge Park. The fields are home to the Opelika Lady Bulldog Softball program, including OMS and recreation leagues.
The turf fields will help newly-hired OHS softball head coach Jessica Thornton and the many student-athletes playing softball.
Local sports fans can keep up with your favorite high school, breaking news and information by listening to “On the Mark”, weekdays, Monday-Friday 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. on WZMG FOX Sports the Game 910-1310. Jeff Sasser and I (D.Mark Mitchell) host the three-hour show along with guest host each show including former coaches Dan Washburn, Doug Barfield, Joe Wilson and Coach Gene Stallings every Thursday at 7 a.m. “On the MarK’ radio show has interviews with local coaches, mayors and other local guest. You can hear the show on 910am, online at foxsportsthegame.com/listenlive or download the iHeartRadio app on your smart phone and search FOX Sports the Game.
D. Mark Mitchell is the sports director at iHeartMedia, host of “On the Mark” Fox Sports the Game 910-1319, co-chair of the Auburn-Opelika Sports Council, chairman of the Super 7 and Dixie Boys Baseball state director.