By D. Mark Mitchell
The Opelika girls and boys basketball teams have three games remaining in the regular season.
The Lady Bulldogs won the area regular season title after going 6-0 against area foes, Benjamin Russell, Russell County and Valley.
This is the third straight area championship for Coach Devin Booth and the Lady Dawgs basketball team.
The girls defeated Valley 70-61 Tuesday night to capture the area title. Senior Jaylen Snipes led the team with 25 points.
OHS girls will host the area tournament Feb. 10-12.
The top two teams advance to the AHSAA 6A state playoffs.
The area tournament champion earns the right to host the first round game in the playoffs. The second place team will travel for the first game of playoffs.
The OHS boys basketball team finished second in the area after beating Valley Tuesday night 49-45 in Fairfax. Junior Jaleel Heard led Opelika with 14 points.
The Dawgs played without starting forward Charlie Benton. Both Benton and teammate Kingston Frazier suffered injuries against Benjamin Russell last week. Frazier played against the Rams in a limited role. Coach John Wadsworth is hoping both players will be ready for the area tournament Feb. 11-13 in Russell County.
The opponent and game times have not been announced for either area tournament.
HONORED BY NFL
The NFL is celebrating 50 years of Super Bowls.
The NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell is honoring all players that participated in a Super Bowl.
The league sent a gold football to every high school a Super Bowl player attended.
Opelika received a football honoring Daryl Smith. Smith graduated in 1981 and played at North Alabama before playing for the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals played San Francisco in Super Bowl 23.
The gold football pictured is on display at OHS in the trophy case inside Main Street.
Smith was one of four brothers that played college football. Brothers, David (North Alabama) Brian (Auburn University) and Sean (Auburn University) all graduated from OHS.
Brian Smith played for the L.A. Rams in the NFL.
I attended OHS with
Daryl and David. I started broadcasting Opelika athletics when David was a junior.
I had the opportunity of broadcasting all of the Smith brothers football games at OHS. As you can tell, this was a special group of brothers, each of them played multiple sports.
Unfortunately, Daryl passed away three years ago. Although he did not live in Opelika at the time of his death, the family brought him back to his hometown for the funeral and burial. The Daryl I grew up knowing would be embarrassed about the recognition. He was a humble and soft spoken person. Daryl let his athletic ability do all the talking. Congratulations, Daryl. Rest in peace.
OHS head coach Brian Blackmon completed the 2016 football schedule.
The Dawgs will play 10 games with an off week before the playoffs.
The home schedule includes the following: Carver (Georgia), Benjamin Russell, Central, Chilton County and Chelsea.The five road games are: Auburn, Carver (Montgomery), Pelham, Helena and Wetumpka.
Opelika fans can keep up with athletics by going to the new website www.opelikaathletics.com.The new site takes the place of “thedawgnetwork.com.”
D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for iHeart Media, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president of the A-O Sports Council.