Survive & Advance

D. Mark Mitchell


The Opelika High School football team (9-3) defeated the Spanish Fort Toros, 28-14, last Friday in the second round of the AHSAA 6A state playoffs.

The Dogs fell behind 7-0 after the Toro Mario Montgomery returned an interception 53 yards for a touchdown with 10:29 left in the opening quarter. Spanish Fort did not score another TD until the two minute mark in the third quarter. OHS rallied for 14 points in the first quarter with two rushing touchdowns of 6 and 21 yards from Caden Cooper. Charles Gagliano made both PAT’s.

Opelika led 14-7 at halftime and extended the lead after the break when Jamori  Thomas ran 3 yards for a TD with 10:42 left in the third quarter. Thomas added the final score later in the quarter, rushing 1 yard. Charles Glagliano added both PAT’s.

Spanish Fort scored its second and last TD with two minutes left in the third quarter via a Johnny Morris 1-yard score.

Offensively, Opelika gained 267 total yards behind a strong rushing attack. Thomas rushed 19 times for 120 yards and two touchdowns and Cooper rushed for 93 yards on 20 attempts, scoring two touchdowns as well. 

The defense was led by Taylor Love’s five tackles and seven assists. Jarell Stinson and Tay Gay recorded four tackles and two assists apiece. Stinson added an interception. The Toro’s were limited to 142 yards rushing and 52 yards passing for a total of 194 on the night.

The Bulldogs will next play Hueytown (11-1) in the quarterfinal’s, on the road for the first time in the playoffs. The Golden Gophers and Bulldogs are 1-1 against each other all-time. The two teams played a regular season game in 1980 and in the playoffs in 2019, both at Bulldog Stadium.

Hueytown advanced to the playoffs as a No. 1 seed after winning Region 4 with a perfect 6-0 record. The Golden Gophers won nine regular season games, beating Minor 57-14, Bessemer City 57-6, Brookwood 54-0, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa 38-30, Athen 54-20, Northridge 75-55, McAdory 62-25, Paul Bryant 58-18 and Spain Park 58-21. The only loss was 57-40 to undefeated Clay-Chalkville. EHS is 2-0 in the playoffs, beating Eufaula (50-13) at home and McGill-Toolen (49-17) in Mobile. There are no common opponents

If Opelika wins, the Dogs will play the winner of Saraland/Hillcrest game. The Dogs would travel to Saraland or play at Bulldog Stadium against Hillcrest.

Fans can listen to the Opelika/Hueytown game on WKKR 97.7 Kicker FM, online at or watch the live stream at To do so, just open an account and pay the fee.


Opelika’s Middle School Wrestling finished third in the “Kickoff Event” at Auburn High School last Saturday. The following is a summary of OMS wrestlers:

120 pounds — Christopher Cannon finished fourth with a 2-2 record; John Ambrirocio placed sixth with one win

126 pounds — Derrick Hoyett placed third winning four matches

138 pounds — Denarvious Anderson earned second place with a 2-1 record 

145 pounds — Brady Cambell went 5-0 to win the weight class; Trace Gaither finished fourth with two wins; Jacob Williams placed sixth with two wins

152 pounds — Harrison Renfroe placed third with three wins; Cooper Wilson finished fourth with two wins

170 pounds — Michael Cosgriff was seventh with two wins

182 pounds — Tommy Johnson placed second with three wins

195 ponds — Thomas Fenn placed second with one win.

D. Mark Mitchell is the sports director at iHeartMedia, host of “On the Mark” Fox Sports the Game 910-1310, co-chair of the Auburn-Opelika Sports Council, chairman of the Super 7 and Dixie Boys Baseball state director.  


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