BY: D.MARK MITCHELL
This is the stretch run for several spring sports. The girls and boys tennis teams traveled to Mobile Wednesday to participate in the 2014 AHSAA Class 6A State Tournament. The girls and boys track teams will travel to Smiths Station today and tomorrow for the Sectional Meet. The boys golf team participates in the Section Golf tournament Monday at the AU Club in Auburn. The softball team traveled to Gulf Shores to play in the “Orange Beach Invitational” today and Saturday.
Coach Adam Massey’s girls and boys tennis teams participated in the State Tournament in Mobile Thursday and Friday. The entire girls and boys teams earned the right to participate in the State Meet as the number two seed behind AHS. The results were not available at press time.
Theses are the student-athletes that participated in the state tournament from OHS: Anna Lazenby, April Wade, Ashley Robertson, Sam Herring, Emma Grace Scullen and Emme Levins; Kevin Lazenby, Winston Smith T, Scott Carpenter, David Bizilia, Ross Herring and Andrew Bizilia.
Coach Stephanie Brown’s Lady Bulldog softball team defeated Dadeville 1-0 Monday at West Ridge Park. The win was the fifth for the young team that has one senior and two juniors. The team is loaded with talented sophomores and freshman.
That team is in Gulf Shores playing in the “Orange Beach Invitational” against the best teams in Alabama. Coach Brown hopes the stiff competition will help her team get ready for the Area tournament April 30 hosted by regular season champs from Central in Phenix City. The Area tournament is a double elimination tournament. The important point to remember is that OHS can make the playoffs by finishing in the top two in the tournament.
The girls and boys track and field teams are participating in the Sectional meet in Smiths Station today and tomorrow. Both teams have excellent chances to win the Sectional meet and advance to the State meet. Coach Jimmy Johnson and staff will use as many events as possible to score points. The entire team can qualify by finishing in top two; individuals who win events can also qualify. The State Track Meet will be held in Mobile May 2-3.
Head football Coach and AD Brian Blackmon started his 19th spring training at OHS, the last six as head coach. Blackmon and his staff will have close to 100 players participating in spring practice. Teams are allowed ten practice dates in 15 days, including a spring game.
We lost several key players from last year’s 7-5 team, but several great players return. Second year QB Mathew Christian is expected to make it three years as the starting quarterback. Senior center Drew Kyser, 6’8” 250 lb, anchors the offensive line along with two other returning starters up front. The running back position seems to have some depth. Returning backs Jamal Barnes and Jarquavious Crawford will have some competition from a transfer from Russell Co.
The defense is returning leading tackler Roy Yancey, but he will not participate in spring drills due to his ACL surgery following the injury in the McGill-Toolen game in the first round of the playoffs. The D-line will have some holes to fill as well as the secondary.
The offensive and defensive lines are the key to being successful. Special teams is the biggest bright spot for OHS. Winston Smith T returns for his third year to punt, while Hunter Weygand and Chazden Blackmon will battle for the kicking duties.
Opelika’s spring will end with a spring game against Gadsden City May 15 at Bulldog Stadium. The OMS football team will scrimmage Gadsden City at 5 p.m. prior to the varsity game.
This fall will be the first year with seven classifications. Opelika remained in 6A and will play in a brand new Region. Pell City, Valley, Benjamin Russell, Chelsea, Chilton Co and Oxford will be the new Region teams. Auburn, Central and Smiths Station moved up to 7A. We will still play Auburn and Central during the regular season. Smiths Station turned down an offer to continue to play.
KEEP UP WITH OPELIKA ATHLETICS
You can keep up with Opelika Athletics on a daily basis by listening to my radio show “ON THE MARK” on WTLM 1520 am Monday-Friday 7-9 a.m. and online at www.kickerfm.com/sports click listen live to “On The Mark.” My partner Jeff Sasser and myself will keep you up to date. You can hear our coaches on a daily basis. You can follow me on twitter @VOICEOFTHEDAWGS.
D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for Qantum Radio and Alabama Dixie Boys State Director.