Opp picks up first win of the year

Published 12:05 am Saturday, September 7, 2019

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The Opp Bobcats earned their first win of the season with a 35-12 victory over the Straughn Tigers on Friday night in Opp.

Opp got the ball to start the game, but threw an interception on the second play from scrimmage.

Straughn’s Jaylon Sigler made the pick, but then fumbled the football and Opp recovered for a fresh set of downs.

The Opp drive didn’t take advantage of the break as they threw another interception to Straughn’s Demetric Toney.

Straughn picked up a pair of first downs to start the next drive, but Opp was able to hold and force a punt.

Opp got a first down from Hal Smithart on the first play of the following drive, but then a fumble gave Straughn the ball.

The Tigers used a ground-and-pound offense to rumble down the field.

Adam Anderson was able to punch one in for the Tigers with a 6-yard touchdown on fourth-and-goal. The extra-point attempt was no good, but Straughn was up 6-0 with 2:13 left in the first period.

Opp then fumbled the ball again and Straughn took over on the Bobcats’ 28-yard line.

The Opp defense stood tall and forced the Tigers to punt the ball after just three plays.

Smithart found Lane Ballard on big play on third-and-9 that got the Bobcat sideline energized.

Smithart reeled off a long run and then a huge run from Ashton Patel set the Bobcats up deep in Straughn territory.

A few plays later, Smithart connected with a Curt Zorn in the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown.

Opp added the extra point and went up 7-6 with 9:21 left in the second quarter.

The Bobcat defense forced a punt on the following drive and then the offense went back to work.

Smithart found Zee Ridgeway for a big first down and then a few plays later Patel bounced into the end zone for a 5-yard score. The extra point gave Opp a 14-6 lead with 4:50 left before halftime.

Both teams traded punts the next three possessions.

Opp got a couple of big runs before halftime and then Cole Jennings scored from 1-yard out to put Opp up 21-6 with 36 seconds left before time.

Opening up the third quarter, Straughn’s Trey Strickland busted loose for a 77-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion failed and Straughn trailed 21-12 with 11 minutes left in the third quarter.

The Tigers forced Opp to punt and the next drive, but the then the Straughn drive came to an end when Thomas Glisson picked off a pass.

Smithart found Erik Matthews for a play down the Straughn 1-yard line and then Patel stuck it in on the next play. Following the extra point, Opp was up 28-12 with a 2:36 left in the third quarter.

Opp forced the Tigers to punt and opened up the fourth quarter on their own 47-yard line.

Patel broke free for a 32-yard touchdown and the extra point gave Opp a 35-12 lead with a 9 minutes left in the game.

Opp was able to hold off Straughn over the final minutes to pick up the win.

“I was very concerned with how we came out in the first half,” Opp head coach Brent Hill said. “Our offense hurt our defense a lot. The defense responded, but we’ve still got things to improve. We got in a little rhythm running and throwing the football. I thought Straughn did a good job with their game plan. They came in wanting to control the clock and the tempo. I think Coach (Joel) Williams is a class act. He had a great plan. They showed us some different things even on defense. Overall, I was pleased we didn’t have the special teams blunder. The first quarter we were just too up and down on offense. Then we settled down and started playing. I’m happy we got a victory, but we still have a ton to work on.”

Straughn head coach Joel Williams was pleased with the effort he saw from his team.

“We didn’t just start off good, I thought we played really good the whole time,” Williams said. “I love this football team. It’s the greatest bunch of guys that I’ve ever had the opportunity to coach in 39 years. They just keep coming and keep coming. We played a football team that was a lot bigger and a whole lot faster than us and we played our rear ends off and I’m extremely proud of them. Yes, we want W’s, but this program is turning. That’s what I’m excited about. People have no idea how tight this band of brothers is in our locker room.”

Straughn will stay on the road next week with a region match with Slocomb.

Opp will also be on the road as they travel for a region game with Houston Academy.