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6th time’s a charm!

Opp’s Bobcats defeated county rival Straughn for the first time in school history Friday night in Opp, 20-7.

After the game, the Opp (2-3) players led their fans in raucous cheers in front of the final scoreboard and rushed across the field before raising their helmets at the 50-yard-line. The Bobcats had previously lost to Straughn (2-3) in the first five meetings.

“That’s the first time our school has ever beaten a varsity football team from Straughn and obviously our kids were excited about it,” said Opp coach Jack Whigham, who looked healthy after spending the past weekend in the hospital when he suffered from dehydration following the Bobcats’ previous game. “I wasn’t behind it and we weren’t trying to show off or anything, but the kids wanted to have some fun and it was a big deal for them.”

For the second straight game, Straughn’s offense was snakebitten by the turnover bug. Although the Tigers out-gained Opp offensively, 222 yards to 177 yards, Straughn turned the ball over five times while Opp never turned it over.

In its previous game, a 27-0 loss to Bayside Academy, Straughn turned the ball over seven times.

“I thought it was a very similar game to last week,” Straughn coach Trent Taylor said. “But I know my kids have great character and they’re going to bounce back from this and do better next Friday.”

Both teams played to their strengths and ran the ball throughout, resulting in a quick 2 hour, 15 minute contest. Opp ran the ball 38 times and attempted four passes, while Straughn ran it 35 times and attempted nine passes. All four touchdowns were scored on the ground.

For the first time in the 2009 season, Opp’s offense scored before its opponent. The Bobcats took a 7-0 lead with 2:35 left in the first quarter when Richard Davis ran a 3-yard touchdown and Hunter Jones added the extra point.

Straughn responded with a 15-play, 71-yard drive that included two fourth-down conversions. Kaleb Green scored from 1 yard out on fourth-and-goal and Josh Dewrell added the extra point to tie the game with 7:01 remaining in the second quarter.

Davis scored his second touchdown of the game with a 4-yard score with 4:55 left in the third quarter. Straughn responded by moving the ball down to Opp’s 28-yard-line before the Tigers fumbled it back to the Bobcats.

Opp took advantage of the fumble, putting together an 11-play drive that culminated with a 1-yard touchdown by Josh Scarborough with 9:58 left in the game. The extra point attempt failed.

The Tigers had two drives in the fourth quarter, but each ended with an interception. Opp’s defense also sacked Straughn quarterback Josh Dewrell five times in the second half.

“Our defense has been great all year and they played great again tonight,” Whigham said. “I can’t say enough about the job my assistant coaches do with this team. They really had the kids ready to play and they never get enough credit for what they do for the Opp program.”

One bright spot for Straughn was the play of Green, a sophomore running back, who finished with 74 yards on eight carries. In addition, junior running back Eric Samuel will return to the team next Friday after missing the first five games with an injury.

“We gave the ball to Kaleb a lot tonight, and he did a great job and had some great blocking,” Taylor said. “We’re excited to get Eric back next week, because that should give us two great options back there and give us some much-needed depth.”

Opp travels to Ashford and Straughn hosts Central-Hayneville next Friday as both teams return to region competition.