MONTGOMERY, Alabama -- The Opelika Bulldogs had to face the weather elements and a good Lee-Montgomery team and overcame both as Opelika gets a 19-0 win. With the win, the Bulldogs get the Class 6A, Region 2 Championship at the Cramton Bowl on Saturday.
Opelika handled the rain better on offense than Lee as the Bulldogs hit on a couple of big plays and won the turnover battle in the rain showers. "It is a great win for us," said Bulldogs Head coach Erik Speakman. "We talked to the players coming over here and play with a sense of urgency and I think we did that. We did not let the weather affect us. This is a shutout against a very good offense. Our defensive coaches did a great job of putting a great plan together and getting the kids to execute the plan."
Opelika (5-2, 5-0) had all three touchdowns in the game while the defense knew that they had to slow down the running due of Reggie Davis and Brian Thomas. The defense did their job and the offense scored enough in the bad weather conditions. With 2:42 left in the first quarter, Malik Finley through deep to Sean Jones and scored on a 59-yard touchdown run for the Bulldogs. The extra point was missed but the Bulldogs but the Opelka offense did what they wanted to do and score first in the game due to the weather. It rained for most of the game and ball security and handoffs were a premium and Opelika handled it while Lee did not.
The Lee offense had four turnovers in the game and while Opelika only had one. Lee moved twice in Bulldogs territory in the first half but was turned away on downs both times. With 3:49 left in the half, Eric Watts ran around left end and raced 61-yards for a Bulldogs touchdown. With the score, Opelika led 13-0. Again, Lee was driving to midfield but on the last play of the half, defensive back Dalen Torbert picked off a Generals pass to end the first half.
In the second half, Watts had another big long run for the Bulldogs down to the Generals 1-yard line. On the next play, Finley connects with Willie Beams on a 1-yard touchdown pass. With the score, Opelika led 19-0 with 3:24 left in the third quarter. Late in the game, the Generals moved the ball down the field but at the Bulldogs 1-yard line they fumbled and linebacker Kevin Lilly jumped on the fumble to keep the shutout in tact.
This is the second consecutive region title for the Bulldogs. The last time Opelika won two championships in a row came back in 2014-16. Watts had the big day for the Bulldogs for rushing over 170 yards on the day along with zero turnovers in the rain. He had a screen play for a touchdown called back for a penalty.
For Lee, Davis rushed for 129 yards on 31 carries and was bottled up for most of the day. For the season, Davis has over 1,300 rushing yards on the season.
Up next for both teams, Opelika will travel to Valley while Lee will play cross-rival Park Crossing.