Aiming higher

Published 11:59 pm Monday, August 24, 2009

The Opp Bobcats are ready to use their successful summer program and put it to good use for the 2009 football season.

“We’re looking forward to it,” Opp coach Jack Whigham said. “It’s like everybody else. We’ve had a really good summer.”

The Bobcats were one of two county teams last year that made it to the playoffs, along with Straughn. Opp finished with a 5-6 record and this year will face Holtville, Alabama Christian, St. James, Ashford, Bullock County, Elmore County and Montgomery Catholic in Class 4A, Region 2 play.

Whigham said the key for this season is to finish better in region play. Opp was the No. 4 seed from Region 2 last year and lost in the playoffs’ first round, 49-14, to eventual state champion UMS-Wright.

“Obviously, we still want to improve on our record,” he said. “This is the first senior class that has been with me since I’ve been here. In the last two years, we’ve been in some close games.

“We’ve got a chance to win those close games and our players believe that, too.”

Whigham said Region 2 is loaded with talented teams.

“Elmore County, I would still think they are the team to beat,” he said. “Ashford has a lot of good athletes. Montgomery Catholic and Alabama Christian … I look for them to be much improved. Holtville has some big linemen and then St. James and Bullock are always strong. Bullock will have as good of athletes as anybody.”

Whigham added that he thinks his team has a chance to return to the playoffs this year.

“I think we can compete for a playoff spot,” Whigham said. “I would hope right now we’re at a point in our program we need to host a playoff game.

“We’re at the state of our program where we need to fight for the top one or two spots in our region,” he said. “Obviously we’ll take making the playoffs. But we need to set our goals a little higher.”

Opp opens its season Friday at Elba, at 7 p.m.