Opp captures region

Published 2:22 am Saturday, October 24, 2009

Opp’s Bobcats defeated Montgomery Catholic 21-3 Friday evening, clinching the Class 4A, Region 2 championship and a first-round home playoff game.

Opp coach Jack Whigham said his team’s defense stepped up early and set the tone for the rest of the game.

“Catholic had a strong ball-control offense and they held the ball for basically the first eight minutes of the game,” he said. “But we were able to hold them to a field goal, and then the defense shut them out the rest of the way. The defense has been a strength of our team all year, and it certainly was tonight as well.”

In fact, it was the defense that scored the first touchdown for Opp (6-3, 5-2 in Class 4A, Region 2). Defensive back Britt Wilson intercepted a pass and returned it 75 yards for a score late in the first half, giving Opp a 7-3 lead at halftime.

The Bobcats added two touchdowns in the second half. Josh Scarborough scored on a 2-yard touchdown run and Gavin Free hooked up with Josh Thompson for a 20-yard touchdown pass.

Whigham said his team should be proud of their region championship, Opp’s first since 1998.

“We had some tough luck early in the year and had some things go against us,” he said. “But our kids persevered through it and kept working hard. I’m happy tonight that our kids were able to win their third straight region game and win the title.”

Both Opp and Alabama Christian finished the year with 5-2 region records, but the Bobcats win the tiebreaker because they defeated Alabama Christian during the regular season.

Opp will face the No. 4 seed from Region 1, Andalusia, in the first round of the playoffs Fri., Nov. 6, in Opp. In a scheduling quirk, the Bobcats will also close out the regular season next Friday by hosting that same Andalusia team.

“In my coaching career, I’ve never had to play the same team two times in a row,” Whigham said. “We’re going to approach the game next Friday as if it’s already a playoff game; I don’t know any other way to do it. It’s Andalusia playing Opp and it’s the biggest game of the year. We’re happy with our region championship and qualifying for the playoffs, but we’ve still got one regular season game left and that’s the way we’re going to approach it.”