Opelika thumps Benjamin Russell

Photo By: Robert Noles, Staff Photographer

Opelika (5-0, R 2-0) defeated Benjamin Russell High School, 34-0 last Friday night at Bulldog Stadium. The Dawgs dominated the Wildcats from start to finish. BRHS entered the game averaging 33 points per game. The OHS defense held Ben Russell to less than 100 yards of total offense and no points.
This was the third game out of the five played so far that the Bulldog defense has shut out their opponent.
Offensively, OHS was led by senior quarterback John David Worth’s 122 passing yards and two TDs. Worth also added two rushing TDs along with 49 yards on the ground.
Weldrin Ford continues to lead Opelika in rushing while Jaleel Heard caught several passes including a 50-yarder for a touchdown to help the offense.
Opelika surprised many, including me, with the way they dominated Benjamin Russell. Both offense and defense continue to improve each week. The offensive and defensive lines are each winning their battles, which allows the Dawgs a chance to win each game.
If Opelika reaches the AHSAA Super 7 Championship, we would have to play 15 games.  If you divide the season into thirds, we are a perfect 5-0 after one-third of the games.
The Central High Red Devils from Phenix City (3-1) will visit Bulldog Stadium this Friday night for a non-region game. Coach Jamey Dubose will bring one of the most talented teams in the state to Opelika. Several Red Devil players are being recruited by Division-1 schools, including Alabama commit big defensive end Markel Benton.
The Red Devils lead the overall series 41-32. Opelika is 9-6 in the last 15 games against Central, including a 27-21 win last year.
Central is coached by Jamey Dubose, 93-26 overall and 22-7 at CHS. He won two state championships while at Prattville.  Dubose started his career at Opelika as an assistant coach under the legendary Spence McCracken.
The Red Devils enter the game with a three game win streak, defeating Farfield 34-0, Auburn 41-14 and Smiths Station 51-14.
The one loss was to Hoover, 23-7, in the season-opening Champions Challenge at Cramton Bowl in Montgomery.
The game is a non-region game although Opelika and Central are long-time rivals. This will be the third time the two teams have played since Central, along with Auburn and Smiths Station, moved into the then-new  7A classification.
Both teams want to win the game and will play hard for 48 minutes.
The Dawgs must continue to play stellar defense and keep improving on offense. Central brings a “big play ” offense, stingy defense and inspired special teams play to Opelika.
CHS is clearly the best football team Opelika has played this season. The Dawgs must limit the Devils “big play” threat. OHS needs to use clock on offense, limit penalties, win the turnover battle, win both lines of scrimmage and make no miscues, mental or physical. Easier said than done..
The Bulldogs need to use the “home field” advantage to the utmost Friday night. Keep the pressure on Central and let the crowd get loud.
This game is like a third or fourth round playoff game. Both teams are well-coached with talented players.
Opelika will continue to play great defense and score enough to win.
Fans can continue to listen to all Opelika football games on WKKR 97.7 KICKER FM and online at kickerfm.com You can download the i-Heart Radio app on your smartphone and search WKKR.
Former Opelika coach Larry Gore, former OHS QB Jeff Sasser and I will analyze the game while I handle the play-by-play.
Airtime is 6:30 p.m. for the Coach Brian Blackmon pre-game show followed by the kickoff and post game show.
Opelika senior Ben Garner continues to dominate cross country, winning his third straight meet, the Spain Park Cross Country Invitational.
Garner crossed the finish line first, improving to 3-0 on the season. The senior is ranked number one in the state of Alabama.
The OHS boys team finished sixth while the girls placed ninth.
Opelika travels to Columbus for the Spencer Green Wave Invitational Saturday.
D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president of the  A-O Sports Council.


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