Bulldogs cage Tigers
BREWTON - It was just a matter of time. Andalusia's Richard Justice flirted with a kick or punt return for a touchdown all night Friday against the T.R. Miller Tigers.
Heck, he's flirted with it all season.
In the final moments of last night's game against the T.R. Miller Tigers, Justice fielded a punt with 1:47 left to play and raced 56 yards for the go-ahead touchdown.
Justice's trek to the end zone for the eventual game-winning touchdown was paved by a series of key blocks including one by Adam Sowell and another by Michael Dutton.
David Kyle added the extra point to give the Bulldogs a 35-31 lead with 1:30 left to play in regulation.
Andalusia Head Coach Paul Woolley said he kept waiting for Justice to strike, especially after last week's performance against UMS-Wright.
"We've been think he would break one," Woolley said about Justice's kick and punt returns. "Last week, we almost broke one on every kick return. I felt like we were going to get it.
"We've been pretty close on punt and kick off returns," he added. "It couldn't have come at a more fantastic time."
Justice said he knew he was going to take one to the house.
"I knew it," Justice said. "I told Turbo and them the whole time that we would win."
T.R. Miller got the ball back on the ensuing kickoff after Justice's jaunt to the end zone and Michael Jones returned the kick from his own nine to the 48 before being hauled down.
The T.R. Miller offense came onto the field with no timeouts and 52 yards away from a game-winning score.
Tiger Brad Lannom completed an 11-yard pass to Brent Salter for a first down.
The Bulldog defense stepped up big on the next play. Durrell Rawls rushed through the Tiger offensive line like a hot knife through butter and sacked Lannom for a three-yard loss. Rawls also managed to tackle the quarterback in bounds which kept the clock running.
The Tigers managed to run three more plays with the final one being a Hail Mary pass attempt that came up empty.
The incomplete pass sent the Andalusia players, coaches and fans wild as the final second ticked off the clock for a 35-31 Bulldog win.
The win was the result of a huge comeback by the Bulldogs after falling behind 10-0 in the first quarter.
Andalusia rallied to get within three at 10-7 with 2:41 remaining in the first quarter when C.T. Eldridge hit Justice in stride with a pass that tickled the T.R. Miller defender's fingers with air as it swooshed by just out of reach. Justice hit the afterburners and went in for a 61-yard touchdown play. Kyle's PAT out of the hold of Josh Dutton was good to make the score 10-7.
The Bulldogs went on top 14-10 with 10:28 remaining in the first half when Eldridge capped off an eight-play drive with a one-yard quarterback sneak for a TD. The drive was highlighted by hard runs up the middle by Kevin Dohoney. He started the drive with a 13-yard run up the gut and then churned out a 12-yard run on the second play of the drive.
Kyle split the uprights on his PAT-attempt out of Dutton's hold and the Bulldogs were on top 14-10.
The Tigers, however, managed a long scoring drive to go back on top. A seven-play scoring drive ended with a quarterback sneak by Lannom for a TD. The PAT was good and the Tigers were back on top 17-14 with 4:50 left in the opening half.
Andalusia's offense bogged down after Adam Sowell returned the kickoff to the 40-yard line.
The Tigers got the ball back via a punt at their own four-yard line.
On the first play of the drive, T.R. Miller running back Quentin Galloway took the ball on a fullback sweep to the left and went 96 yards for a touchdown. The PAT was good and T.R. Miller held a 24-14 lead with 2:11 left in the first half.
T.R. Miller scored in the final minutes of the third quarter when Jones broke a tackle for a 17-yard touchdown run. The PAT was good and the Tigers held a 31-14 advantage with 1:27 left in the third.
The Bulldogs, however, refused to give up and scored 21 unanswered points for the win.
The comeback began on a fourth-and-17 play for the Bulldogs. Eldridge found Justice for a 25-yard touchdown pass. The PAT was good and the Tigers' lead had been trimmed to 31-21.
Andalusia's defense held the Tigers' on the next possession forcing a punt. The punt went off the side of the punters foot and out of bounds just 17 yards down field from the line of scrimmage.
Andalusia's offense took advantage of the good field position using just one-play to cover the 37 yards between the line of scrimmage and the goal line. Justice took a pitch on an option play to the right and raced 37 yards for a touchdown. Kyle's PAT was once again good and the Bulldogs had climbed back with one score of the Tigers trailing 31-28.
Once again, Andalusia's defense held the line against the Tigers with Sowell getting a key sack for an eight-yard loss. The Tigers went three and punt giving the pigskin back to the Bulldogs.
Andalusia failed to earn a first down and an illegal procedure penalty forced Woolley to send the punting unit onto the field with 3:30 left in the game.
The T.R. Miller offense failed to make a dent in the Bulldog defense and punted the ball back to Justice.
Justice gathered in the pigskin, broke to his right, then his left and after a series of key blocks he was standing in the end zone for a touchdown. Kyle's raced onto the field for the PAT and the Bulldogs held a 35-31 lead with 1:30 left in the game.
The Andalusia defense held once again and the Bulldogs returned to Andalusia winners late Friday night.
Woolley said he was proud of the team, especially the effort the players showed in the second half.
"I think of all the years of coaching and this will have to rank in the top five in victories," Woolley said. "And, that's a lot of years.
"There is no way I can say enough about the way we came out and played in the second half," he added.
Woolley also said this was a team win. He said every player on the team had a job to do and every one did their job.