Game of the Week: Opelika vs. Central


A short trip down US 280 and 25 miles is all that separates Opelika and Central High School. It’s an East Alabama rivalry that isn’t taken lightly.

“These kids grow up playing each other in middle school and all the way through and the intensity is there, but we’ll shake hands after the game. It’s a very respected rival,” said Opelika Head Coach, Erik Speakman.

“It’s an Auburn, Alabama type deal. You want to have the bragging right for a year. You want the opportunity to know you’ve got the upper hand,” says Central Head Coach, Jamey Dubose. 

There is no lack of fire power in this matchup. Opelika is off to a 4-0 start, while the Red Devils have played one of the toughest schedules in the country and have dominated their region opponents.

“We feel like they’re one of the better teams in 7A and we feel like we’re one of the better teams in our classification,” said Speakman.

“Both communities have always been good in football, it’s not just a recent thing,” says Dubose. “It’s something that has always been a big ball game and they’ve had a lot on the line usually playing each other.”

The Bulldogs are hungry for their first win in this rivalry since 2015.

“Pretty motivated because my Senior class hasn’t beat Central throughout middle school, our 9th grade year. We haven’t beat them so if we we beat them this year it will mean a lot to us,” Says Opelika Senior Defensive Back, Jaylen Stinson.

The key to Opelika coming out on top…

“Not give up big plays which is their offense. Then we’re going to have to run the football and control the clock and keep their offense off the field,” says Speakman.

“Being focused out here. This is where it all starts,” says Opelika Senior Quarterback, Brody Davis. “This is where we get our kinks fixed and go through the process. Friday is when we put on a show.”

Central is prepared for yet another team to give them all they got.

“They’re really fast, they have some fast d-lineman, they’re very fast in the secondary,” said Central Senior Quarterback, Tucker Melton. “They re bringing a lot of guys back so they have a lot of experience and they have a really good coaching staff over there so they’re going to be prepared for us.

Kickoff is set for 8pm Eastern Time in Garrett-Harrison Stadium.

Categories: Alabama Sports, High School