Opelika prepares for final game

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D. Mark Mitchell

On the Mark
By D. Mark Mitchell

Opelika prepares for final game

The OHS football team (6-2, R 6-0) will close out the regular season Friday against region foe Park Crossing (4-4, R 3-3), at Bulldog Stadium.
Opelika won by forfeit against Valley last Friday night. The Rams lost 20 players due to COVID-19 protocol and forfeited two games against Eufaula and OHS.
Opelika head coach Erik Speakman gave the team off last Friday to enjoy a little free time ahead of the playoffs.
Park Crossing is coming off a 12-8 loss to RE Lee in Crampton Bowl last Friday. LC Cole, hired in the spring, is in his first year as the Thunderbirds’ head coach.
Cole has an extensive resume, including coaching in the NFL and college before returning to the high school level. He is known as a strict disciplinarian and a “defensive” coach.
The Thunderbirds have endured some painful moments early this season. Their starting quarterback suffered a  season-ending injury after game one. The reserve quarterback was in an ATV accident that claimed his life several days later. Needless to say, the team continued to play despite all of the negatives.
Park Crossing opened the season with a 46-28 loss to Auburn. The next two games were won via forfeit over Dothan and Valley. They played their second game of the season Sept. 10, a 20-14 loss to Carver. The following week, Eufaula beat the Thunderbirds 33-7.
Park Crossing then beat Lanier 22-6 on Oct. 1. They won by forfeit over Valley on Oct. 9 and lost last week 12-8 against the Generals. It has been a tough year for Park Crossing when compared to Opelika. The Bulldogs wrapped up the Region 3 Championship with a 19-0 win over Lee two weeks ago and the forfeit win over Valley last week.
Against Park Crossing, Opelika will see for a good defensive team with an average offense. Look for the Thunderbirds to play hard Friday night at Bulldog Stadium. There is no question OHS is the better team, but a win would make the season for Park Crossing.
The Bulldogs will have next week off and will start preparing for the 6A  playoffs, which begin Nov. 6. The Dawgs will host the fourth place team in Region 3. It will  be Stanhope Elmore, Wetumpka or Helena. We will know the opponent after Friday night’s games.
Fans can listen to the Park Crossing vs OHS game on WKKR 97.7 Kicker FM, online at kickerfm.com or watch the  live stream free on the nfhsnetwork.com courtesy of the Orthopedic Clinic.
You must set up a free account on nfhsnetwork.com. Then search for the Opelika football game versus Park Crossing. Click the Opelika production and the stream is free.
AHSAA CENTRAL BOARD UPDATE
The Alabama High School Athletic Association held its quarterly Central Board Meeting last week in Association office in Montgomery.
Executive Director Steve Savarese and the Board released Winter sports and Fall Championship Sports guidelines for “Return to Play”.
The winter sports included, wrestling, girls and boys basketball, bowling and indoor track. You can review these plans at AHSAA.com
PLAYOFF TICKETS
Football playoff tickets are under the control of the AHSAA and can only be purchased at www.gofan.co or www.ahsaa.com by Saturday.

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