Bulldogs off to ‘great start’
OZARK — Despite struggling on special teams, the Andalusia Bulldogs came away with a 35-12 season-opening road victory over Class 5A Carroll-Ozark at Matthews Stadium Friday night.
“It’s a win,” AHS coach Brian Seymore said. “It’s a win against a 5A program. It’s a great start.”
Andalusia took a 28-6 lead at halftime, and only managed to add one touchdown in the second half.
The Bulldogs’ first defensive series was a good one, forcing the Eagles on a three-and-out.
Andalusia’s Derrick King rushed 118 yards on 20 carries and scored two touchdowns for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs (1-0) took an early 6-0 lead in the first quarter when King scored his first touchdown from nine yards out. The extra point attempt was blocked by the Eagles.
Carroll-Ozark took an advantage of its passing attack in its next offensive series when Ronnie Peterman connected for a 72-yard touchdown pass to tie the game up at six points apiece.
On Andalusia’s next offensive series, the Eagles held the Bulldogs to three-and-out as King couldn’t gain any yardage.
Later in the first half, Andalusia’s Rafeal Sims had a one-yard rush for a touchdown with 9:55 left in the second quarter. King rushed into the end zone from three yards for the two-point conversion.
For the night, Sims rushed 74 yards on 10 carries.
On Carroll’s next offensive possession, Lakeylus “Fat Head” Adams recovered a fumble, and ran the ball back from the Andalusia 48-yard line for the touchdown. Andalusia’s Courey Hopkins made the extra point attempt to put Andalusia’s lead at 21-6.
With no time on the clock, King scored his second touchdown from five yards out on a first-and-goal play. Hopkins’ extra point attempt was good.
The second half wasn’t a good one for the Bulldogs, as they had four turnovers, and allowed one touchdown on an interception.
In addition, the Bulldogs were called on one block-in-the-back penalty.
Seymore said in those situations, the players have to learn to let the runners run by.
“We’ve got to learn that when the ball is running past us — we’ve got to be cheerleaders,” he said. “We’ve got to start celebrating. It’s not an effort problem. We’ve got to be more mentally sharper than that.”
Andalusia’s Deion Akins’ first playing time for the start of the regular season would be better forgotten.
Akins threw an interception for Carroll to run it back from 25 yards out to cut into Andalusia’s lead 28-12.
But, Akins made up for it when he ran a punt return for 80 yards for a touchdown to give his team the last score for the night.
For the rest of regular time, Andalusia ran the ball, and effectively the clock down to zero.
Andalusia’s Carlos Luckie also had a good night on the ground rushing for 40 yards on seven carries.
Akins rushed for 80 yards and scored one touchdown.
Andalusia will host Alabama Christian Academy (ACA) next Friday night in its first region contest of the season.
“This is going to have a lot of varying on the region outcome,” Seymore said about ACA. “They’ve got a quality football team, and we’ve got to be physically as well as mentally prepared to go on the field. We’ll get a good game plan together, and our kids will come back and work next week.”
Seymore added that he is excited the game next week will be at home.
“I’m excited because it’s our first official home game, and I think our parents will show up and support these guys,” he said. “We’ve definitely got our work cut out for us, but I’m definitely looking forward to the opportunity next week to play in front of the home crowd.”