The Daphne defense shutout the potent Bulldogs attack through the first half, but Opelika broke through down the stretch to end the Trojans’ 2017 playoff run with a 15-5 win at Jubilee Stadium.
DAPHNE, Ala. — The Daphne defense shutout the potent Bulldogs attack through the first half, but Opelika broke through down the stretch to end the Trojans’ 2017 playoff run with a 15-5 decision at Jubilee Stadium.
DHS starting quarterback Chance Newman suffered a serious shoulder injury on the Trojans’ second drive.
“It’s tough,” said Daphne head coach Kenny King. “When you lose your starting quarterback, your team leader – it’s hard to overcome. You have to have that next guy up mentality and we just couldn’t make anything happen on offense.”
Junior Gage Bonner and freshman Trent Battle alternated at quarterback for Daphne, but could not finish a drive other than a 41-yard field goal by Diego Guajardo. The Trojan defense led off with a safety earlier to set up a 5-0 lead in the first period.
Both offenses struggled to keep drives alive until the Bulldogs rallied to cross the goal line in the second half. Opelika QB Cade Blackmon connected with Jorden Heard on a 52-yard pass play. That set up Conner Smith’s touchdown run to cap an 87-yard drive. The try for two failed, but the ‘Dogs led 6-5.
Later with Daphne backed up, the OHS defense scored on a take away in the DHS end zone Bruce King blocked a Guajardo punt and Smith covered it in the end zone for a touchdown. OHS made the extra point and added a safety for the final score.
Jack Cushman and Marese McBride led the Trojans pass rush with five total sacks on Blackmon. The DHS defense overall left the OHS rushing game in negative figures except for Smith’s 37-yard TD run.
King added that he was most disappointed for his seniors.
“They put a lot into the team. Hopefully, they use this as a character building experience as they move on to the next phase of their lives.”
It was the third-consecutive playoff win for Opelika over Daphne which finished their season at 8-3. The Bulldogs advance to play Park Crossing in the second round next week.