Auburn vs. Opelika high school football

O’Marion Holloway (10) catches the game-sealing touchdown during the Opelika vs. Auburn at Bulldog Stadium in Opelika on Aug. 30, 2019.

Facing a 3rd-and-10 late in the fourth quarter of Opelika’s rivalry game against Auburn, Bulldogs head coach Erik Speakman told offensive coordinator Jonathan Chandler to call a play that would win the game.

Luckily for Speakman and Chandler, quarterback Brody Davis and receiver Omar Holloway were up for the challenge.

With Opelika holding onto a 14-13 lead with 2:31 left on the clock, Davis fired downfield for Holloway, who jumped over an Auburn defender to make a catch in the end zone. Holloway’s 32-yard reception was the ultimate highlight for the Bulldogs, which scored the game’s final two touchdowns to take a 21-13 victory.

Thanks in part to the Davis-to-Holloway touchdown, Opelika (2-0) beat Auburn (1-1) for the first time since 2016.

“Oh my God, I just remember dropping back and seeing a lane,” said Davis, who was 8-of-15 passing for 121 yards, one touchdown and one interception. “I got out (of the pocket). We're taught to keep our eyes downfield. I just saw Omar running. I thought I'd get it to him because he's a pretty good ballplayer.”

“That's where you've got two guys who are supposed to be our team leaders that came up, made a huge play for us and won the game,” Speakman said.

PHOTO GALLERY: See photos from the Auburn High vs. Opelika football game in a gallery at the end of this story. 

After being shut out in the first half by Auburn, Speakman threw the gauntlet down at halftime and challenged someone to stand up and make a play. Fortunately for Speakman, several Bulldogs rose to the occasion late.

Auburn seized momentum in the early minutes of the fourth quarter when quarterback Patrick McGlon patiently waited for a screen to develop, hit Aaron Diggs and watched as Diggs raced downfield for a 42-yard touchdown.

The momentum, however, was short-lived for the Tigers, as Opelika’s Jaylen Stinson stepped up on the extra-point attempt and blocked the kick. Thanks to Stinson, Auburn’s lead was just 13-7 with 9:45 remaining on the clock.

“I just knew that if I could get to that ball and block the kick we'd have a good chance to win the ballgame,” Stinson said. “I knew the offense was going to come down and drive.”

Stinson’s sense about the Opelika offense proved to be correct.

After a rough start that included a lost fumble and an interception, Davis stepped up and guided the Bulldogs swiftly downfield. Aided by a pair of Auburn penalties, the Bulldogs reached paydirt when Kani Kellum pushed forward on a 5-yard touchdown run with 7:09 left in the fourth.

Once the extra point went up to make the score 14-13, Opelika had its first lead of the evening.

Auburn began its next possession on the 35-yard line eager to regain the lead, but the Bulldogs’ defense buckled down. After connecting on an 11-yard pass on 3rd-and-long to save the drive once, the Tigers struggled to move the chains and instead faced a 4th-and-4 from the Opelika 48-yard line.

Following an Opelika timeout, the Tigers attempted a fake-punt pass. The pass fell incomplete, giving the Bulldogs the ball with a chance to milk the clock.

Opelika’s drive after the turnover on downs nearly ended after three plays, but a roughing the punter penalty left Stinson with a stinger but a new set of downs. Three plays later came the Davis-to-Holloway heave, which gave the Bulldogs an eight-point cushion.

“Opelika made more plays than we did to win the game, but we didn't play winning football tonight, period,” Auburn head coach Adam Winegarden said. “I was really proud of our kids' efforts. I thought our kids competed their guts out. We didn't play winning football, and if we want to be successful in the future of this season we've got a lot of things we've got to get better at.”

Auburn had one last shot at tying the game, but the Opelika defense had no interest in an extra session of play. The Bulldogs hounded McGlon on the final drive, sending the sophomore scrambling on three straight plays as he desperately tried to find an answer for Auburn.

Ultimately, the Tigers turned the ball over on downs again, setting the stage for Davis and the rest of the Bulldogs to start the celebration.

“It's my senior year. I've waited for this time my whole life,” Davis said. “These are the games you live for. You want to play with the packed stadiums, the yelling and the screaming and all of that.”

Opelika 21, Auburn 13

A — 0 7 0 6 - 13 

O — 0 0 7 14 - 21 

2nd Quarter

A — Patrick McGlon 55-yard pass to Laquavious Nelms (XP good), 11:25

3rd Quarter

O — Brody Davis 1-yard run (XP good), 0:27

4th Quarter

A — Patrick McGlon 42-yard pass to Aaron Diggs (XP blocked), 9:45

O — Kani Kellum 5-yard run (XP good), 7:09

O —  Davis 32-yard pass to Omar Holloway (XP good), 2:31

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