By D. Mark Mitchell
The Opelika High Boys Cross Country team participated in the 16th annual Jesse Owens Invitational at Oakville Indian Mounds Park in Oakville last weekend. This is the same course on which the State Championship will be held.
The boys finished sixth in the Gold Division (the Gold Division is made up of the top teams in the Southeast). 247 runners were entered.
Opelika team members finished as follows:
Ben Bryant, 3rd place (15:27) – this was a personal best for Ben. Kane Barrett was 16th (16:08) and Ben Garner finished 56th (16:55). Other Opelika finishers were Kevin Lazenby, Jonathan Bizilia, Hayden Washburn and Andrew Bartlett.
Opelika will participate in the Tiger Classic in Auburn this weekend.The state meet is in early November.
Opelika (5-1, R-4-0) defeated region foe Chelsea 60-14 last week. The game started like I anticipated. Chelsea was pumped up about playing on the road against the 4th ranked Bulldogs. The Hornets opened the game with a touchdown drive to lead 7-0. The Bulldogs then took charge and scored 31 straight points before allowing Chelsea a 67-yard pass and run for a TD.
Coach Brian Blackmon turned to his junior running back Josh Johnson to lead the way. Josh ran for 194 yards and scored three TDs, establishing the running game which opened the passing attack. Senior QB Mathew Christian threw three third quarter long TD passes. Nate Huggins caught a 67-yard touchdown pass, Gage Young snagged a 67-yard TD pass and Lydell Vines caught a 59-yard pass.
The Bulldogs won a huge Region game, putting them in a position to win their first Region championship since 2007.
OPELIKA VERSUS VALLEY
Opelika travels to Valley tonight to play Valley High School. The Rams are 3-3 and 1-2 in the Region. Valley beat Lanett 21-0, Greenville 7-6 and Oxford 25-21. The Rams’ three losses were to Chelsea 40-23, Smiths Station 23-10 and Chilton County 20-6.
Valley’s defense is the strongest part of their team. The Rams’ offense struggles to move the football consistently. Opelika should wrap up the Region Championship in Fairfax tonight.
We are the better team. Look for Coach Blackmon to try and score enough early so the starters can give way to the second team guys.
LISTEN AND WATCH OPELIKA VERSUS VALLEY
Fans wanting to listen to tonight’s game between Opelika and Valley can tune in to 97.7 Kicker FM or online at kickerfm.com
If you want to watch tonight’s game go to thedawgnetwork.com or Opelikaschools.org and click on the blue and red icon with the NFHS logos
Click this icon and you will be directed to a page where you can purchase the game,
PINK OUT BULLDOG STADIUM
Opelika fans are encouraged to wear pink next Friday night, Oct. 17, when OHS hosts Chilton County. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Coach Blackmon purchased pink mouth pieces for the Dawgs to wear.
The Opelika All-Sports Booster Club purchased 1,000 shakers to be given away before the this game.
PINK OUT BULLDOG STADIUM on Oct. 17.
D.Mark Mitchell is sports director for Qantum Radio, Alabama Dixie Boys State director and vice president of the A-O Sports Council.