Opelika, Ala. – The game of the week in Alabama is a 15-minute drive, or maybe a 20-minute bus ride as #5 Smiths Station travels to #3 Opelika as the two teams square off in 6A Region 3.
Both teams are 6-0 overall and 4-0 in region play. Opelika, under head coach Brian Blackmon, reached the State Championship Game last season. Meanwhile, Smiths Station is having a surprise year led by a group of talented physical seniors.
Opelika is led by senior cornerback Stephen Roberts, a commitment to Alabama, who is also a threat on special teams. The Bulldogs boast a roster full of solid players like quarterback Matthew Christian and running back Reggie Hall, as well as underclassmen prospects Jared Gentry and Quandeski Whitlow on the defensive line. The Panthers are loaded with their best team in years with several seniors headed for college ball.
Perhaps the best is at middle linebacker in Anfernee Moffett. He holds offers from Arkansas State, UAB, South Alabama, West Alabama and Samford. He’s supported on defense by fellow inside linebacker Amonte Caban.
“I went to Mississippi State (versus Alcorn State),” the 6-2, 200-pound Caban said. “I went to Alabama State this summer and they offered me. I talked to South Alabama and that’s good. I’ve been getting letters from Western Kentucky. It’s going pretty good. I’ve got one offer right now and that’s from Alabama State.
“I play mostly inside and outside linebacker,” Caban continued. “In college it depends on how much weight I put on. I would like to play linebacker. It depends on where the coaches want me, but I’ll play any position out there.”
Caban also plays running back in a limited role.
Another dual-threat player for head coach Mark Rose’s squad is Johnny Woods at receiver, linebacker and defensive back.
Woods checks in at 6-3, 195 pounds and could play any of several roles in college.
“I’ve got three offers – from Western Kentucky, West Alabama and UAB,” Woods said.
Woods is a player who his head coach is high on as a prospect at the next level. “Johnny is a football player,” Rose said. “I don’t know if that counts anymore because he goes to camps but runs a slower time than everybody. But when the ball is snapped they can’t cover him. He is a football player. He never complains. He plays both ways. He leads us without ever saying a word.”
While Smiths Station has plenty of big, strong and lengthy athletes, the change-of-pace is senior running back DeVante Marshall, a scat-back and the perfect mix in the option, play-action, Wildcat offense.
Click here for video of DeVante Marshall.
Click here for video highlights of Amonte Caban.
Click here for highlights of Johnny Woods.
And Click here to see Anfernee Moffett in action.