Wildcats face stiff road test versus Opelika by Ed Bailey with the Alex City Outlook
August 30, 2013Benjamin Russell High School
Around this time last year, the Benjamin Russell Wildcats pulled off a 14-7 upset versus the Opelika Bulldogs to kick their season off on a high note.
This year when the Wildcats tangle with the Bulldogs again, BRHS head coach Danny Horn expects it to be perhaps the stiffest test that the ‘Cats will face all season.
“They’re very good defensively,” Horn said of the Class 6A No. 5 ranked Bulldogs. “This will probably be the biggest crowd that our team will play in front of all year.”
Despite that season-opening loss last year, Opelika rebounded to make a run all the way to Class 6A championship game, where the Bulldogs were defeated by Hoover.The Wildcats went on to an 11-2 season, eventually falling to Spanish Fort.
Horn said the Bulldogs defense is littered with talent and added that it would pose a challenge in more ways that one.
“Their line is huge,” Horn said. “They have an average of 300 pounds across the front line. They’ve got big linebackers, and two of their safeties have already signed. It’s going to be tough.”
In addition to the size disadvantage, Horn said the team would be tested by Opelika’s offense as well.
“They’ve got a quarterback that can throw it, and they have two wide receivers that can stretch the field,” Horn said. “They’ve got big backs that run hard.”
For the Wildcats, Horn said field position would be pivotal if the team plans to leave Opelika with a victory.
“For us, we have to maintain drives,” Horn said. “We’re not going to score every time we have the ball, and we don’t have to score on every possession. But we have to drive the ball down the field every time we have it. We have to get first downs. We can’t give them the ball at the 50-yard line. We have to make them earn it.”
After Saturday’s sloppy Champions’ Challenge victory, Horn said the team can’t play as it did against Walker and get a win.
“If we play like we did against Walker, we’ll get beat thirty-something to nothing,” he said. “Opelika is ranked for a reason.”
Still, Horn said that the team felt good about its chances, and would not show any intimidation on Friday.
“I think we can go in there and win the game,” he said. “But it’s going to come down to execution. We need to execute in order to win.”
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Bulldog Stadium in Opelika.