Opp topples W.S. Neal

Published 12:39 am Saturday, October 20, 2012

Opp's Justin Adkins (12) rushes for a gain at W.S. Neal Friday night. | Adam Robinson/For the Star-News

By Adam Robinson

The Brewton Standard

The weather turned cool in East Brewton Friday and so did the W.S. Neal offense as the Opp came into town and stunned ninth-ranked W.S. Neal 14-0 on homecoming.

OHS held W.S. Neal to only 164 total yards of offense with 151 coming on the ground, while racking up 268 yards of their own with 234 coming on the ground.

“We just have struggled so much this year,” Opp head coach Jack Whigham said. “We have had a ton of injuries. We have kids that are hurt, but of course everyone has kids that are hurt. For these kids to come down here and to hold a team that is scoring 30 points a game to nothing is just a great job by our defensive staff. We did just enough on offense to win the game.”

Opp scored first on a 9-yard run from Onterrio Jones to lead 7-0 with 4:21 left in the first. In the second quarter, W.S. Neal fumbled at the Opp 3-yard line. One play later, Octavious Bonham rushed 97 yards to put the Bobcats up 14-0.

Neither team would score in the second half as the Bobcats stayed alive for the playoffs in Class 3A, Region 1, improving to 5-3 overall, and 4-2 in the region. OHS is now in a four-way tie in the region with Straughn, WSN and Bayside Academy.

Whigham praised his defense on the win over the Eagles, who had been averaging 400 yards rushing and scoring more than 40 points a game. The shutout on offense was the first for the Eagles this season and a first in the Doug Hoehn era. The Eagles had not been shut out since the fourth game of the 2010 season—a 60-0 loss to Escambia County.

“In all the films, we knew what (W.S. Neal) had done,” Whigham said. “We just asked our defensive linemen to sacrifice themselves and get up underneath the pile and not give them any seams, and they did a great job with that. We had linebackers that made plays and we did not give the big play up.”

Bonham led with 116 yards on eight carries and one touchdown. Marquese Banks led W.S. Neal with 97 yards on 20 carries.

W.S. Neal (6-2, 4-2) will play at T.R. Miller next week in the Battle of Murder Creek, while Opp hosts Straughn in a key region game.

Whigham said he thinks the Eagles may have been looking forward to next week’s game with T.R. Miller and might have looked past his Opp Bobcats.

“In all honesty, I started out in the spread because I wanted to see what they would do in the spread, but we just did not look comfortable in it,” Whigham said of his ball-control offense Friday night—who held the ball for the first 8:34 of the fourth quarter. “When we got the lead, I did not want to throw the ball and stop the clock, and we wanted the clock to run. I just decided to run the ball and run the clock out and the linemen did a nice job and we made enough yards.”

W.S. Neal lost three fumbles in the game while Opp lost two. One Eagle fumble led to the 97-yard score for the Bobcats while one came on an Opp punt in the third quarter.

Hoehn said Opp played a great game and hard every play.

“We helped them with some turnovers,” Hoehn said. “A good football team like that, you can’t do that. You can’t give them turnovers. I don’t want to take anything away from Opp. They came out tonight and just played football tonight. That is the bottom line. They played very good football.”

When asked if he thought his team was more looking forward to T.R. Miller then staying focused in the present, Hoehn said there were additional things to consider.

“It was homecoming and we got more press this week than we have had in two years since I have been here,” he said. “The rankings came out, but we are going to have to do a better job of making sure the kids stay focused. We talked to them about one play at a time, but in reality, kids do look ahead. I am just going to have to make sure that never happens again.”