• 55°

Andalusia has high expectations for 2009

After coming off a 2-8 season in 2008, the Andalusia Bulldogs are ready to put the past in the past and dig into what 2009 has to bring.

The Bulldogs have six away games this season. The longest they will have to travel is to Mobile, where they will play Class 4A powerhouse UMS-Wright.

In Region 1 play, Andalusia will play B.C. Rain at home, W.S. Neal in Brewton, Jackson at home, Thomasville in Thomasville, Hillcrest-Evergreen at home and UMS-Wright in Mobile.

Andalusia will begin its season playing against rival Straughn in Andalusia. Last year, Straughn defeated Andalusia, 50-26. That loss arguably set the tone for Andalusia for the rest of the season.

Will this year be any different for the Bulldogs?

Andalusia coach Brian Seymore said the team is anxious to get back on the field this season.

“Coming off a disappointing 2-8 season, we have bigger and brighter things to look forward to,” Seymore said. “We have lost 16 seniors to graduation, but I’m really excited about our younger players. They’ve worked extremely hard in the offseaon and the summer.

“I can see they’re hungry. I think they want to turn the year they had last year around and be more successful in playing Andalusia football.”

Seymore said on the offensive front, “we’ll practically fill a brand new team.”

“We’ve only got two returning starters,” he said. “Our playmaker coming back is T.K. Bullard. He was our leading receiver last year and our second leading rusher on offense. Up front, we’ve got Lexius Bradley. He’s definitely our top lineman. He’s been solid for us.”

On defense, the Bulldogs will have to rely heavily on their speed to fill the void star linebacker Nico Johnson left behind after graduation.

“We’ve got five starters back on defense,” Seymore said. “Coach Marshall ‘Bubba’ Locke has done a tremendeous job. The kids have really rallied behind him. He’s changed a couple of schemes a little bit.

“I’m really happy with the progress we’ve been making,” he said. “Defensively, we predicate everything on speed. We want to put as much speed on the field as we can. The reason is because you’ve got to stop your opponents’ offense. In (Class) 4A Region 1, it’s tough. From the top to the bottom, it’s a solid region.”