Everyone is a sucker for a good underdog story. There is nothing greater than an upset in March Madness or an FCS team going in and beating a college football powerhouse. I still tear up every time I watch Rudy finally get to take the field for Notre Dame. I have never, however, been more proud of a group of underdogs than I was Friday night when Opelika advanced to the AHSAA 6A State Championship game. Some outsiders may not consider Opelika an underdog. After all, they have been ranked in the top 10 all season long. However, those people don’t understand this Opelika team. Look no further than Opelika’s backfield.
JD Worth moved back to Opelika in eighth grade and has had to sit behind two of the better quarterbacks in Opelika’s rich football history. JD, being the ultimate team player, agreed to move to wide receiver and if Jake Bentley had not decided to enroll at South Carolina a year early, JD would still be catching passes instead of throwing them.
Weldrin Ford had 25 carries in his entire career coming into this season due to a nasty knee injury that could have easily ended his career. He had never scored a touchdown in a varsity football game and yet now he was supposed to be the guy that sparked Opelika’s offense.
JD and Weldrin were not the only unknowns for Opelika. This team had no Corey Larkins or Corey Grant to make athletic plays you never thought you’d see at a high school football game. There wasn’t a TJ Jackson, Melvin Oliver, Tez Doolittle, or Lamarcus Rowell that had the size and strength to dominate every single play. The roster had no guys like Will Herring and Jake Bentley that went on to start their freshman year in the SEC. Instead, this team had a quarterback that expected to be playing wide receiver and a running back that was coming back from an injury that ends a lot of careers.
Yet, when it is all said and done, JD, Weldrin, and the rest of this Opelika football team has a chance to do something none of the aforementioned hometown legends were able to do: bring home a state championship. The entire city of Opelika should be in Jordan Hare Stadium on Friday night to watch this team chase history. Win or lose, this team will be one that is remembered for years to come. After all, everyone is a sucker for a good underdog story.