Opelika outlasts Wetumpka, advances to second round of playoffs

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D. Mark Mitchell

On the Mark
By D. Mark Mitchell

OHS (8-2) defeated Wetumpka (5-6) 51-28 last Friday at Bulldog Stadium in the opening round of the AHSAA 6A Playoffs.

The first quarter was a scoring fest. Opelika scored three touchdowns in the first five minutes: a 3-yard run by Taylor Love, a 27-yard interception return by Love and a 74-yard punt return by Jarrell Stinson. (Baker Rowton made all 3 PAT).

Wetumpka scored their first touchdown on an 11-yard run by Quin Wilson with six minutes left in the first quarter. The Bulldogs answered with an 11-yard touchdown run by quarterback Malik Finley with 2:45 left in the quarter. Rowton added the PAT, making the score 28-7. The Indians answered with a 33-yard interception return for a score to make it 28-14 heading to the second quarter.

Each team scored one touchdown in the second quarter. Eric Watts sprinted 34 yards to the end zone with 6:10 remaining in the half; Rowton missed the PAT. The Indians scored the final points of the first half, an 11-yard TD run by Rose to make the score 34-21 at halftime.

Each team scored a touchdown in the third quarter. WHS scored on a 24-yard interception by Brandon Bowen at the 10-minute mark. Malik Finley added his second touchdown of the game on a 9-yard run with 6:50 left in the third quarter. Both PAT were good.

OHS added 10-points in the fourth quarter to seal the win. Baker Rowton made a 30-yard field goal and Kaden Cooper scored on a 9-yard run with 1:32 left in the game. Rowton’s extra point made the score 51-28.

The win puts OHS in the second round of the playoffs against Hillcrest Tuscaloosa at Bulldog Stadium Friday night at 7 p.m. The Patriots, coached by Sam Adams, defeated McGill-Toolen 31-21 in Tuscaloosa.

Hillcrest (9-2) and Opelika have only played three games against each other. OHS defeated HHS twice in 2015, a regular season 34-20 win and a 48-0 win in the second round of the playoffs. Hillcrest defeated Opelika 26-24 in the quarterfinals in 2017.

The following are results from Hillcrest’s schedule. HHS beat Homewood 49-19, defeated Tuscaloosa County 27-20, beat Brookwood 27-20, won at Wetumpka 35-30, lost at Hueytown 34-28, beat Northridge 49-21, won against McAdory 45-41, won by Paul Bryant’s forfeit, defeated Bessemer City 33-8, lost by forfeit to Demopolis and beta McGill last week 31-21.

The Indians scored 343 points while allowing 203. Opelika has scored 278 points while allowing only 134. OHS won one forfeit game, while Hillcrest won and lost one game to forfeit.

Hillcrest head Coach Sam Adams, in his seventh season, has a 56-28 record. He has guided the Patriots to six playoff appearances, advancing to the semifinals once. One side note: Adams interviewed for the Opelika head job in 2017, finishing behind Caleb Ross, who was hired.

The winner of the OHS verses HHS game will play the winner of the Saraland/RE Lee game. 

Fans can purchase tickets online at www.gofan.co for $9.40 apiece including the surcharge. You can listen to the game on WKKR 97.7 Kicker fm and online at www.kickerfm.com. You can watch the live stream on the NFHS Network at www.nfhsnetwork.com

OHS CROSS COUNTRY

Opelika High School Girls and Boys Cross Country teams participated in the Section 2 Meet Nov. 5 in Auburn. The Bulldogs’ Breckin Gould won the girls meet with a time of 20:41.90, and Cha Brewer won the boys Meet with a time of 17:50.50.

Girls Results: Paola Torres finished second, Violet Alcorn seventh, Margeret Bice eighth, Susan Gaston 10th, Cruz Tylicki 11th, eighth grader Carlie Moates 13th, Jasmine Jordan 15th and eighth grader Kaitlyn Brown 18th.

Boys Results: Winston Tufts finished third, eighth grader Connor Mullins 13th, William McCullough 15th, eighth grader Sam Kemp 16th, Peyton Weston 17th, Zalen Shaw 19th, Trey White 22nd, Jake Walters 23rd and Evan Goodman 24th.

The top 20 qualified for the State Cross Country Meet on Nov. 14 at Oakville Indian Mounds Cross Country Course. Congratulations, OHS qualifiers!

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