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GIRLS FLAG FOOTBALL

‘Great win’: Auburn High flag football tops Opelika in rivalry game

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Auburn High vs Opelika flag football

Auburn’s Syriah Daniels (0) runs with the ball against Opelika on Tuesday in Duck Samford Stadium.

Syriah Daniels scored a touchdown on offense and pulled down an interception on defense, and the Auburn High girls flag football team won the rivalry game against Opelika 15-7 on Tuesday night at Duck Samford Stadium.

Daniels, a basketball standout, finished with 84 receiving yards and several pass breakups on the defensive side.

Quarterback Brooke Hallman also threw a touchdown pass to Taite Pearson for Auburn High’s other score.

“It was a great win. We’ve already played two games that just weren’t this competitive,” said Auburn High head coach Alison Link. “The way the game was played was right. It was a great battle.”

Opelika won the rivalry game in overtime last season.

This year, Opelika was led by quarterback Cherdi Daniels, who ran in Opelika’s touchdown.

In the fourth quarter, it was a one-score game at 13-7 when a safety on Opelika gave Auburn High a cushion and gave the game its final score.

Officials ruled that an Opelika punt attempt touchded the ground in the end zone which resulted in a safety in flag football rules. Link credited her team’s defense for putting Opelika in that position deep in its own territory.

“That was a huge stop. We’d already pushed them back and the punt was already great. We’d stopped them there,” Link said. “The safety, getting this extra two points, means they can’t just come down the field and they’ll have to go for a two- or three-point conversion if they get a touchdown. It’s really huge.”

The safety swung the momentum in favor of the Tigers.

“We’ve got to get our special teams. We can’t make mistakes like that. We’re killing ourselves,” said Opelika head coach Jaclyn Button of the late safety. “That definitely forced us, again, to regroup and refocus.”

Button said the issue wasn’t with her team’s athleticism, but rather little mistakes like the safety where they were backing themselves into a corner. Her team will go on to play again Wednesday night.

At the end of the night, Link said she was happy that the game was played cleanly and that the officiating was smooth. With those things going well, her team had the opportunity to win a rivalry that went a different way at the end of last year.

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