The #8 Opelika Bulldogs will travel to #1 Wetumpka in a big Class 6A Region 3 game at Hohenberg Field on Friday night. Both teams are coming off region wins last week and the winner will have the tiebreaker win in the region that could be huge for the region championship.
Last year, Opelika hit a game winning field goal to give Wetumpka their only loss of the regular season. Even though they had the one loss, Wetumpka had the region championship and making it all the way to the Class 6A championship game. They eventually lost to Pinson Valley in the finals. With the region title, Wetumpka snapped Opelika's run of three years winning the region championship.
Opelika (1-2, 1-0) is coming off a 66-6 win over Selma last week but lost to Callaway, Georgia (35-21) and to 7A Auburn (22-15) to open the season. Things to get any easier for the Bulldogs this week against Wetumpka. A few area the Bulldogs need to clean up is in the penalties area that cost them in their first two games of the season.
The Bulldogs are led by quarterback Cade Blackmon. The senior quarterback was finished with 7-of-10 passing for 132 yards, two touchdowns and an interception against Selma last weekend. The Bulldogs have wide receivers O'Marior Holloway, Ja'Quavian Ross, Marien Warner, Corey Webb and tight end Jamius Mitchell. Last week on the Bulldogs second drive of the game, Blackmon threw a perfect ball over the shoulder to Holloway for a 45-yard touchdown pass. Balance is going to be needed for the Bulldogs to up end Wetumpka.
The running game is in good shape with Brantan Barnett, Eric Watts and Kani Thornton. Barnett rushed for 128 yards on 7 carries and three touchdowns in the first half against Selma. Thornton has a lot of size that likes to run between the tackles and can just run over defenders.
The offensive line of Jalen Heard, Zae Smith, James Levins, James Dawson and center Hunter Rider have been solid for the Bulldogs.
On defense, the Bulldogs have defensive backs Jaylen Stinson, Alfred Owens, Tyquavious Barnett, Tyrell Davis, Kory McCoy, Cole Thomas and James Royal. At linebacker are Quan Foote and Malachi Tatum. At the defensive line spot is Miles Magee, Cameron Torbert, and Contavious Gullatte.
For Wetumpka (3-0, 1-0) holds wins over Fairhope (34-14), Northview (44-14) and Calera (34-14). This could be their biggest test of the season. Wetumpka lost quarterback Jadarious Martin to start the season but have played pretty well without him.
To replace Martin at quarterback is junior Tyquan Rawls. Rawls has played well in his first three games and looks to continue with good play tonight. In his first game of the season against Fairhope, Rawls had Junior Tyquan Rawls accounted for 256 yards of total offense and two of the team’s touchdowns and against Calera threw a touchdown pass.
There are some weapons on offense. Wide receiver EJ Rogers, running back Deangelo Jones, running back Terrance Thomas, and wide receiver Malik Davis lead the way for the Indians. Offensive lineman Cody Tucker is a talent at the tackle position. Throw in fullback Noak Barclay, there will be some holes created by the Indians blockers.
On defense, Wetumpka might have the best linebackers in Class 6A. Patrick Lucas, Colton Adams and Darren Nolen are very talented. Nose guard Jacorey Murphy eats up the blockers and the talented linebackers cleanup the play.
This might be the toughest test for Wetumpka on the season as the Opelika Bulldogs come to town.