Strong 2nd half lifts Opp over Straughn

Published 12:24 am Saturday, September 3, 2016

Orlando Lacey cuts up the middle for a big gain.

Orlando Lacey cuts up the middle for a big gain.

It was a high-scoring affair Friday night at Tiger Stadium, and it was the No. 3-ranked Opp Bobcats who came away with a 55-32 win over Straughn in the first Class 3A, Region 2 contest of the year.

“It’s been awhile since I’ve coached a game where there wasn’t a single punt in the first half,” Opp head coach Brent Hill said. “That shows you that both teams were really clicking early on offense. We still have some things we need to work on, but this was a big region win for us. Straughn is a great team and they really got after us in the first half.”

Straughn received the opening kickoff and wasted little time finding the end zone.

Jacob Hawkins busted loose on the third play of the game and took the ball 65 yards down to the Opp 1-yard line.

Brock Hammett punched the ball in from 1-yard out to put Straughn out front. The two-point conversion attempt failed, but the Tigers were on top 6-0 with 10:30 left in the opening quarter.

Opp went right to work with Orlando Lacey connecting with Hennis Washington on three passes in the opening drive. Lacey then found the end zone from 45 yards out, and added a two-point conversion to give Opp an 8-0 lead.

Straughn answered right back with a 24-yard touchdown pass from Hammett to Hawkins.

The Tigers failed to convert the two-point conversion, but held a 12-8 lead with 6:22 left in the first quarter.

Opp wasn’t going to let the Straughn led last long as they scored three plays later on a 27-yard run from Washington. Opp failed to convert the two-point conversion, and held a 14-12 lead.

The Tigers’ offense continued to push forward as Hammett scrambled for a 14-yard score early in the second quarter to put the Tigers back on top 18-14.

Straughn’s defense looked like they had Opp stopped on the next drive, but the elusive Lacey managed to pick up 16 yards on a third-and-long play to breathe new life in the Bobcat drive.

Two plays later, Lacey scampered in for a 2-yard touchdown. Lacey added the two-point conversion to put the Bobcats on top 22-18.

Straughn wasn’t giving up and quickly responded with another score.

Hammett connected with Hawkins on a 29-yard pickup, and then Hammett capped off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.

Opp got the ball back with less than four minutes left in the first half, and Lacey dashed for a 45-yard gain to put the Bobcats inside the 10-yard line.

Lacey hit Reggie Thompson with an 8-yard touchdown pass with 2:32 left in the first half. The two-point conversion put Opp on top 30-26.

The momentum then shifted in the Bobcats’ favor.

Straughn begin to drive the ball down the field, but Opp’s E.J. Reed stopped the drive when he picked off a pass from Hammett deep in Bobcat territory.

With time running out in the half, Lacey slung up a prayer that found a wide open Washington.

Washington shook off a defender and then went the to the end zone for a 73-yard score to put Opp on top 36-26 with 33 seconds left in the half.

Opp opened the second half with a 10-yard touchdown run from Lacey to go up 42-26.

Lacey then added a 33-yard touchdown pass to Talon Flowers.

On the next Bobcat drive, Lacey went 74-yards on one play to put Opp on top 55-26.

Hammett capped off the scoring with a 1-yard touchdown run.

“We were overmatched with our young defense and it was obvious,” Wilson said. “I was proud of the way we continued to fight. We will get back after this week at practice and see how we react.”