Bulldogs face tough road test

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 26, 2002

Two years ago, the Andalusia Bulldogs traveled to Brewton for a critical area game against the T.R. Miller Tigers.

Andalusia held a lead late in the game, but came up on the short end when the final horn sounded.

The Bulldogs (2-2) and Tigers (3-1) are no longer in the same classification much less area or region.

The Bulldogs are currently a Class 4A team. The Tigers are now a Class 3A team and ranked No. 6 in the state.

Friday night's game between the two teams, however, remains important to the players and coaches.

T.R. Miller Head Coach Jamie Riggs said the weather could have an impact on the game. He said rain could help even the playing field by neutralizing the Tigers' speed at the skill positions.

If the rain stops before kickoff on Friday the field could be dry in time for the game.

Usually, if it rains Thursday night or Friday the football field would still be damp or even wet at most stadiums when kickoff rolled around.

At T.R. Miller, however, Riggs has access to a helicopter that can be brought in to dry off the field much the way helicopters have been used in the past at the Little League World Series.

Regardless of the playing conditions, Riggs said the Tigers have to prevent the Bulldogs from marching up and down the field on Friday.

"The key to the game is us being able to stop their offense," Riggs said. "We have to find a way to stop their offense. The time of possession, if they dominate the time of possession, we'll have a hard time winning."

Andalusia Head Coach Paul Woolley agreed that time of possession could decide the winner.

"If we keep the ball away from them, they can't score," Woolley said. "We need time of possession and we need to be able to pass when it is our option to pass."

The main objective for the Bulldogs, however, is the running game to eat up clock and keep the ball away from the Tigers.

Woolley said the offensive linemen will have the opportunity to play a key role in the contest.

"The offensive line is tremendously important," Woolley said. "You have to have the backs run hard, but you have to get movement at the line."

Woolley said Patrick Caffey, Austin Caffey, Marcus Stacks, Rick McKay and Eric Johnson are all offensive linemen who will have the opportunity to make big contributions on Friday.

William Mellown, Neal Patterson and Daniel Wall will also be looked to for blocking help from the end positions on Friday.

Turnovers are another key aspect of the game the Bulldogs must improve on.

"We had five crucial turnovers Friday night," Woolley said.

Preparing for the Bulldogs is never easy, Riggs said, but the T.R. Miller players always understand the importance of the game and come ready to work.

"I think our kids always understand the importance of getting ready to play Andalusia," Riggs said. "Our kids always know when we start practice for Andalusia and they are ready."