Bulldogs overcome 4Q tie, wins on defense

Published 12:55 am Saturday, October 2, 2010

Andalusia's Deion Akins drops back for the 81-yard pass to Derrick King in the fourth quarter. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

With the game tied 14-14 late in the fourth quarter, Andalusia senior running back Derrick King caught a pass from back-up quarterback Deion Akins, and ran it back 81 yards for a touchdown to help lift the Bulldogs 20-14 over Hillcrest-Evergreen Friday night for homecoming.

Andalusia coach Brian Seymore said the team as a whole is “blessed” to get the win over the Jaguars, and remains undefeated in Class 4A, Region 2.

“We’re just truly blessed, truly blessed and that’s what it comes down to,” Seymore said.

On a night in which the Bulldogs (5-1, 4-0) needed to put some points on the board, the defense actually took the brunt of the game, and essentially won it for Andalusia.

After Andalusia missed the extra point on the 81 yard touchdown pass from Akins to King, Hillcrest-Evergreen completed a 12-play, 29-yard drive to the Andalusia 22-yard line, where the Jaguars relied on their passing game.

But with 1:48 left in the game, Andalusia’s Jerome Matthews swatted the ball out of the hands of Hillcrest-Evergreen’s Daven Dixon to get the ball back on downs.

“They showed some true character at the end,” Seymore said about the defense. “They broke a long run and missed a couple tackles there, but we put them in tough situations and they found a way to make plays.

“I guess you can call it an ugly win, but I told my kids I don’t care if it’s one or 50, it’s a ‘W,'” he said. “That puts us 4-0 in the region, and it’s a homecoming win. I’m proud of our guys. I’m proud of our coaches. I thought they did a great job with the adjustments.”

On offense, King led the Bulldogs with 286 all-purpose yards and scored two touchdowns. He led in rushing with 125 yards on 20 carries, and in receptions with two for 161 yards and two touchdowns.

“We’ve got to get the ball to him,” Seymore said of King. “He made some big plays for us.”

Andalusia couldn’t get anything going on offense at the start of Friday night’s game, but on their second offensive possession, the Bulldogs drew first blood with a 2-yard dash from senior quarterback Adam Zelensky. Andalusia’s Courey Hopkins made the extra point attempt, and the Bulldogs took a 7-0 lead with 3:04 left in the first quarter.

In the first half, Andalusia’s offense gave up two turnovers. One turnover occured early in the second quarter.

Hillcrest-Evergreen’s Justin Nared completed a 22-yard pass to William Ferguson to give the Jaguars six. Nared couldn’t convert the two-point conversion.

Andalusia made another big statement Friday night on the next offensive series.

Zelenskey threw a short pass to King, who then bobbed and weaved through the Jaguars’ defenders to run it back 80 yards for the score with 8:41 left in the first half. Hopkins, who went 2-of-3 Friday night, made the extra point.

With 4:49 left in the first half, and after the Bulldogs defense held Hillcrest-Evergreen to a three-and-out, Andalusia gave up its second fumble of the half.

Both teams only managed two offensive series each in the third quarter, as both defenses did a great job holding the game at bay.

The Jaguars tied the game up when Travis Stallworth broke through the Andalusia defense and ran 61 yards with 10:15 left in the contest. Hillcrest-Evergreen’s Tevin Rudolph completed the two-point conversion on a trick play.

Andalusia’s next offensive series was big for the Bulldogs, but Zelensky completed a pass into the waiting arms of Hillcrest-Evergreen’s Trevin Fluker with 8:44 left to play to put more pressure on the defense.

The defense persevered, holding the Jaguars to a field goal attempt, which was missed wide right.

Andalusia took over with 6:45 left to play, and King bobbled the catch from an Akins’ pass, weaved around a few defenders and took it to the house to seal the win.

“Deion got enough on the ball, and defense made a big play for us (at the end of the game),” Seymore said. “Our defense has done their job all year. They made a big play at the end (to force the field goal attempt), and held them on four downs.”

On this homecoming night, Andalusia wrapped the game up in victory formation to run the clock out with 1:48 left in the contest.

“We were lucky enough to run the clock out in the victory formation,” Seymore said. “It’s good to get a win at homecoming.”

In passing, Akins had one completion for 81 yards and a touchdown; and Zelensky had four completions for 80 yards and had one rushing touchdown.

Andalusia’s Rafeal Sims, back from injury, netted nine tackles and Jacard Townsend had eight.

The Bulldogs will travel next week to face city rival Straughn in region play. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

Seymore said the coaches will make some adjustments on the team to get ready for the Tigers next week.

“We’re going to look at some things and look at the plays for next week,” he said. “I know they’ll be excited, and it’s a good rivalry game. It ought to be a packed house.”