Monday, January 27, 2020






Bulldogs Hold Off Wolverines To Win Champions Challenge Battle


    MONTGOMERY – Opelika built a 20-7 lead after three quarters, then held off a fourth-quarter Carver rally to beat the Wolverines 20-16 Friday night as the ninth annual Champions Challenge prep football classic got underway at Cramton Bowl.
      Two more games are scheduled for the Champions Challenge Saturday: Dadeville vs. Piedmont at 5 p.m. and Stanhope Elmore vs. Spanish Fort at 7:30. Both games will be telecast live over the Raycom TV Network.
     Josh Johnson’s 1-yard touchdown run capped Opelika's 17-play, 70-yard march that ate up 6 minutes, 22 seconds to open the game. Chazdon Blackmon kicked the extra point and then followed with a 35-yard field goal five minutes later to extend the Bulldogs lead to 10-0.
     Carver struck quickly in the second quarter when quarterback Mike McKinney connected with Nagee Clay on a 78-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 10-7.
     Jack Slay booted a 23-yard field goal at the six-minute mark of the second quarter as  Coach Brian Blackmon’s Bulldogs carried a 13-7 lead into halftime.
    Jake Bentley’s 12-yard TD run and Slay’s extra-point kick put Opelika up 20-7 with 1:45 to play in the third period.
    Carver’s Marlon Davidson blocked an Opelika punt that resulted in a safety with 5:42 to play to make it 20-9.  Melvin Tyus then grabbed the ensuing free kick at his own 22-yard line and sped 78 yards for a touchdown just 18 seconds later. Nagee Clay’s extra-point kick cut the Opelika lead to four, 20-16.
    Carver got one more chance but ran out of downs as the Bulldogs held on to win.
    Opelika finished with 279 total yards and Carver had 244. Johnson was the leading rusher with 125 yards on 25 carries. Carver’s Jayland Horne had 105 on 12 tries.
     McKinney was 11-of-23 passing for 175 yards and the one TD for Coach Billy Gresham’s Wolverines. Clay had four catches for 100 yards.
     Matthew Christian was 9-of-17 passing for 91 yards. Tight end Kyle Fourtenbary had two catches for 32 yards.
     Ismail Saleem, who played for now closed St. Jude last year, had two kickoff returns for 62 yards, including a 53-yarder, and Tyus had 106 yards on three returns. Tyus also led all tacklers with 13 stops. Brandon Northern also had nine and Davidson seven for Carver.
    Roy Yancey and Jared Gentry each had five tackles for Opelika. Two of Gentry's stops were sacks for 13 yards in losses.
    The game was played as a preseason, non-counting contest. Opelika opens its regular season next Friday at arch-rival Auburn while Carver returns to Cramton Bowl to face Lee-Montgomery (1-0), which opened its season Thursday with a 15-0 win over Sidney Lanier.”

Box Score

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