Factors for success

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 3, 2009

After bouncing back from a 2-8 season in 2008 to finish 6-5 this season, Andalusia coach Brian Seymore said there were two factors that contributed to his team’s success.

“I really think the single most important factor was the commitment by our coaching staff, putting in the hours and extra work with the kids through the summer and fall,” Seymore said. “As far as our players, it goes back to our seniors. They made a commitment during the off-season to right this ship and get the program back where it needs to be.”

Andalusia started its season with a strong 3-0 start. In week one, the Bulldogs defeated rival Straughn 20-7, thanks in part to a 58-yard fake punt play late in the fourth quarter.

That win would carry Andalusia to another win over B.C. Rain, its first region game of the season.

Seymore said the game against B.C. Rain was when he realized the team had a chance at making a run in the playoffs.

“Especially with the conditions being as bad as they were, (B.C. Rain was) a talented football team,” he said. “Even the teams that didn’t make the playoffs in our region are very talented football teams. Clarke County made it last year and I felt like that that gave us the upper hand.

“We turned right around and beat (W.S.) Neal (in week three),” he said. “The deciding factor was the Clarke County game.”

In the W.S. Neal game, Seymore said the conditions were also unfavorable as it was raining, but the players stuck to the game plan and finished the game on top.

After defeating W.S. Neal, the Bulldogs went on a three-game losing streak. They lost to region opponent Jackson (who is playing in the Class 4A finals against Cherokee County Friday), Class 5A Greenville and Thomasville, another region opponent.

After falling to 3-3, Andalusia continued its season with a crucial win over Clarke County.

The next week’s win over Hillcrest-Evergreen sealed Andalusia’s spot in the playoffs, where they were to meet city rival Opp in the first round.

Before facing Opp in the last regular season game, Andalusia traveled to Mobile, where the Bulldogs lost to UMS-Wright, 43-12.

Over the next two weeks, Andalusia would split wins over Opp, winning 24-12 to end the regular season and losing 21-16 in the first round of the playoffs.

Seymore said the difference between those two games against Opp were the “penalties.”

“I hate to tell you something that was a negative on the year,” Seymore said. “I felt like we were the better football team. In the second game, the credit goes to the players and (Opp’s) coaching staff.

“We couldn’t overcome the penalties,” he said. “We had 20 penalties and three turnovers. I really felt bad for our players, especially our seniors, that that was their last game. They really felt like we were the better team and that’s something we can learn from. We can draw off that and it left a little bit of a bad taste in our mouth.”

Seymore added that it was difficult to finish the year with a first-round playoff loss.

”It hurt and we felt like we let a lot of people down,” he said. “I feel like I let a lot of people down, the coaches down and the community down. That’s how I felt about that game.

“Until we play them again, that taste will be there,” he said. “I think it will be in our players’ mouths, too.”

Due to the reclassification rule changes that took place in November, Andalusia will face a Class 3A Opp team next season.