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Bulldogs unable to defeat Tigers

The Andalusia Bulldogs' final home game of the 2003 season against the Choctaw County Tigers was classified by speed, a sprint-out in the first and second halves. The Bulldogs, who were winning at the half 14-7, either couldn't contain the Tigers or get their motor started in the majority of the second half. The final score was 33-14 Choctaw County.

On the first drive, Andalusia tried their ground attack, but couldn't move the ball. Running back Wesley Liles ran up the middle for five yards on two plays, but the Tigers defense was tight around the center during the entire game. The Bulldogs were forced to punt on fourth down of the opening drive.

Choctaw County, which became increasingly restrained throughout the game, proved that penalties can hurt a team's position on the field. On their first drive, the Tigers had four separate penalties, including offsides, clipping, holding and illegal substitution. Running back Gerald Johnson showed promise, rushing for nine yards on two of the plays, but still came up short of the first-down marker. They punted the ball back, and Andalusia receiver Neal Patterson ran the ball for five yards on the return.

Andalusia's second drive was more successful than the first. Patterson ran the ball to the outside on the next play for 35 yards. Liles also ran the ball for positive yardage, but the Tiger defense was hungry. And they clawed the Bulldogs' offensive line back. After quarterback C.T. Eldridge sneaked the ball for seven yards both Liles and Eldridge were pushed back for losses on third and fourth downs. They turned the ball over to the Tigers.

Although the Tigers were not left with great field position, they capitalized on the momentum shift inspired by the stop. Johnson ran on the outside corner for a 75-yard touchdown on the first play. The good point after put the visiting team up 7-0.

After Michael Eldridge ran the second kickoff to the 31-yard line, the Bulldogs continued their time-eating ground assault. But the Tigers pumped up their defensive strategy, also. Running backs Liles and Jerome Tomberlin only got four rushing yards on the drive before the Bulldogs kicked the ball back to Choctaw County.

Nothing was going for the Tigers on their next drive, either. After Johnson rushed for nine yards, they were forced to punt again.

Eldridge ran for a couple of QB sneaks before fumbling the ball for about an eight-yard loss. The Bulldogs turned the ball over again as a result of a failed fourth-down conversion attempt.

Andalusia's defense proved to be too much for the Tigers during their next possession. After Choctaw County's pick up of two yards, a loss of one yard, and an incomplete pass on the drive, they punted back to Andy.

The Bulldogs capitalized on the situation, with points to show for it. With the help of good blocks, Liles ran the ball for a 30-yard touchdown. A failed point-after kick still left Choctaw in the lead, 7-6.

Choctaw, with a run for 5 yards and a couple of incomplete passes, didn't get anything going on their next drive, and punted the ball back to Andalusia.

Once again, Andy took advantage of the situation. They had a lot of field to cover, but they did as Eldridge sneaked up the middle for 45 yards. He also rolled out of the pocket to throw to Patterson to move to the 1-yard line. He kept the ball and dove over the defense for a touchdown. Tomberlin ran the ball for two points, which put Andy up 14-7 at the half.

Choctaw, having possession on the first drive of the second half, looked refreshed. They gave the ball to Johnson more, and he ran for a 40-yard touchdown on the drive. A failed kick for the point-after, however, kept Andy leading 14-13.

Choctaw's defense was not fooled as much by Andy's offense. More sacks were prevalent from their blitz, also. Andalusia punted to Choctaw.

Johnson ran for a 71-yard touchdown on the next play, but the two-point attempt failed to make the score 19-14, Choctaw County.

After a few successful first-down runs, Andy was in a third-and-long situation. Eldridge threw a deep pass, but it was picked off by Dexter Leverett.

Johnson dominated on the next drive, including a 26-yard touchdown run. Quarterback Maurice Holcombe threw to Leverett for the two-point conversion. Choctaw led 27-14.

The only other score in the game came from a relatively unused talent in the game, Choctaw's Merrill Johnson. He only ran the ball in two plays. One of them was an 80-yard touchdown. The good PAT kick sealed the game, 33-14 Choctaw County.