By D. Mark Mitchell
Coach Brian Blackmon and his staff would like their team to play this way every week.
If there was a way for the team to perform the way OHS did against Central, it would be hard for any high school team to beat Opelika.
The Bulldogs dominated region rival Central last Friday in front of a packed house, 37-7.
The Red Devils were held scoreless until 2:40 were left in the game. This was long after the Dawgs had substituted for every starter.
The Dawgs started fast for the second week in a row, driving 65 yards in 11 plays to take a 7-0 lead after Jakell Mitchell plunged one yard for the TD and Justin Traylor kicked the PAT. Central’s first offensive play after the kickoff, a pass, was picked off by Stephen Roberts. Four plays later Terrance Griffen ran 14 yards for a touchdown to give the Dawgs a 14-0 lead, after Traylor added the PAT.
The Opelika fans were roaring and Opelika just kept playing inspired football. The defense kept stopping the potent Central offense and the Bulldog offense kept rolling.
Justin Traylor added a 22-yard field goal with 10 minutes left in the second quarter to extend the lead to 17-0. Central’s next possession was stopped after four plays, one of which was a punt. The Bulldogs then marched 74 yards and scored another TD on Calvin Bryant’s 20-yard run.
Central mounted their best drive of the first half late in the second quarter but Roberts put an abrupt stop to the drive. With the ball on the OHS 18-yard line Central QB Jamal Howard threw a pass that was intercepted by Stephen Roberts and returned 85 yards as the clock expired to make it a 30-0 score at halftime. The crowd went wild and the Red Devils went into the locker room knowing it was Opelika’s night.
The second half started with another Bulldog drive and touchdown on Mitchell’s two-yard scamper to make the score 37-0. The OHS starters had scored on every offensive possession and kept Central scoreless. Opelika’s defense held the high powered Red Devil offense to 147 yards while the Dawgs gained 274 rushing yards, 47 passing yards and 19 first downs.
Calvin Bryant rushed for 115 yards on 16 rushes, his second straight game rushing over 100 yards.
“This was a huge win for our program. I told our guys all week that we could beat Central if we followed the game plan — and boy did they do what we told them,” said a soaked Blackmon, after a power-aide bath given him by his players, in his post game radio show on the Kicker with me.
“We won the battle up front, offensive and defensive. I am so proud for our players,” added Blackmon.
This was a signature win for head coach Brian Blackmon. Yes, that includes beating Prattville, the state champions last year. After losing the season opener to Benjamin Russell it would have been easy for our players to give up. The coaches kept coaching and the players kept working to get better. I know it’s just the third game of the season, but we dominated a top ten team that beat topped ranked Carver the previous week.
What I am saying is, let’s stay behind our Bulldogs. As you can see they have the potential of winning every game but it’s tough to win all of them. I am an Opelika fan everyday, not just when they win. I want you to be also. If you are a true Opelika fan, keep supporting our Bulldogs like you did last last Friday night. That was a great atmosphere.
Opelika vs Carver
Opelika will travel to Montgomery tomorrow night, yes, Saturday night, to play Carver at Crampton Bowl at 7 p.m. The game was moved due to Alabama State’s Thursday night game that was televised by ESPNU.
I guess ASU has more power than the high schools in Montgomery. Or maybe, more accurately, television has more power. Either way the game will be Saturday night.
You can listen to the Opelika/Carver game at 7 p.m. on WMXA 96.7 or on the web at mix967online.com. We have to broadcast on Mix 96.7 because Auburn University is playing at 6 p.m. and that broadcast has to be on 97.7 Kicker FM due to a contract between Kicker and the University.