By D. Mark Mitchell
The Opelika City Schools’ 2018-19 school year will officially conclude Friday night at 7 p.m. with graduation ceremonies inside Bulldog Stadium.
Spring football was the last sporting event planned for Opelika’s athletics program. The Bulldogs hosted Valley in a spring game (practice game ) last Friday at Bulldog Stadium. The two schools up-and-coming ninth grade teams scrimmaged prior to the varsity.
Valley and Opelika agreed to play the first and second quarter with “ones and “two’s” before freely substituting the second half. Opelika scored 28 points in the first half while holding the Rams scoreless.
When the night was over, both football coaches saw their players respond in a game setting.
Opelika finished the spring practices with approximately 105 players headed into the summer workouts.
Coach Erik Speakman will give his team a few weeks off before summer workouts begin. The Bulldogs open the season against Callaway High School Aug. 22 at Bulldog Stadium.
New OHS softball coach Randy Belyeu is preparing for his new job. The Opelika graduate has his summer and fall schedule prepared. Coach Belyeu is a perfect fit to follow Tina Deese. The relationship between the two coaches is impressive.
Coach Deese phoned Belyeu prior to turning in her retirement papers. She wanted to make sure he knew so he could make a decision to pursue.
Coach Belyeu will be able to hire one or two assistant coaches in addition to coaches Gagliano and Kyser.
The Opelika boys and girls soccer program continue to improve.
The boys advanced to regionals while the girls advanced to the Final 8.
The boys finished 11-6-4 overall and finished tied for first in the area with 3-1 record.
Coach Derek Hovell guided the team to wins over four ranked teams. The defense improved along with the offense. Opelika won by an average score of 2-to-1 during the season. Jordy Chavez scored a team-high 11 goals while Marshall Meyers led with five assists.
In next week’s column, I will recap the Lady Bulldog Soccer team’s season and name the 2019 Dixie Youth All-Star rosters.
D. Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State Director and vice president of the A-O Sports Council.