Bulldogs, Tigers to take battle field

Published 12:02 am Friday, October 8, 2010

Andalusia’s Deion Akins gains yardage in last week’s game against Hillcrest-Evergreen. Andalusia will square off with Straughn tonight in a region rivalry contest. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Andalusia and Straughn, county rivals and region opponents, will take the field tonight to decide who will have bragging rights, who is the better team and will play a large part in who will become the No. 1 seed in Class 4A, Region 2.

Last season, the Bulldogs and Tigers met in their annual season-kickoff contest, where Andalusia won 20-7.

Just over a year later, Straughn finds itself in the same classification and region as Andalusia. Both teams are currently undefeated at 4-0 in the region.

Andalusia is coming off a 20-14 win over Hillcrest-Evergreen, and Straughn beat Bullock County 48-12.

Bulldogs head coach Brian Seymore said the preparation for this game has been extensive.

“We really looked ahead,” Seymore said. “We spent a couple weeks prior to this, and the coaches decided to stay an extra hour and talked about things and what we wanted to do and how to tackle them. “It’s already a huge rival and a huge game,” he said.

Against the Jaguars last week, Andalusia’s Derrick King racked up 286 all-purpose yards on offense. He led in rushing with 125 yards on 20 carries, and in receptions with two for 161 yards and two touchdowns.

“With Andalusia, they’ve got a very, very good football team,” Tigers head coach Trent Taylor said. “The King kid is as good a running back as we’ve seen this year.

“On the defensive side of the ball, (AHS senior linebacker) Johnnie Jones and (junior linebacker) Jacard Townsend are the two best linebackers we’ve seen this year. On the defensive front, they’ve got great size up front.

“Offensively, they do a great job getting the ball to their playmaker’s hands, whether they do it out of the traditional pro-set or out of the gun,” he said. “They found a way to get it in his hands. That’s been their thing all year long, and our kids are aware of that.”

Taylor said film has indicated that Andalusia’s defense swarms around the run game, which his offense is partial to in running the option attack.

SHS senior quarterback Josh Dewrell leads the Tigers with 88 rushes for 627 yards and has scored 14 touchdowns this season. Chase Short isn’t too far behind Dewrell with 69 rushes for 581 yards and eight touchdowns.

Seymore said Dewrell and Short are at the top of his list of “concerns” heading into tonight’s game.

“Josh has a way of making things work when they got to have it work,” Seymore said “Another kid that might not get enough publicity is Chase Short. He’s stepping in for Eric Samuel.

“He’s the back up quarterback, and it’s another big spot you’ve really got to take away,” he said. “Those two guys are our main concern. At the top of the option, you’ve got to be able to take the quarterback and fullback away.”

Andalusia is also a running-based offense with King leading the charge this season. In tonight’s game, Seymore said he is going to spread the wealth on offense.

“We’ll find some other ways to get some people involved in the offense because if you look at last week, it was primarily Derrick as far as total yards,” Seymore said. “He accounted for most of them. I think our coaches have done a good job this week in preparation. We undertstand that we’ve got to get the ball to other people. I know they’ll have a couple of new wrinkles on offense and defense. It’s going to be a period of time to make adjustments to take what they give you.”

Tonight’s game will be at Straughn Tigers Stadium, a place Taylor said is “conducive” for watching high school football.

“I think there will be a tremendous crowd,” Taylor said. “Obviously, I wish we had 5-6,000 more seats. This stadium is conducive to watching a football game. There are plenty of places to stand and watch.”

Seymore and Taylor said this game will be a big one because of the playoffs situation.

“I really feel like who wins this game will host the first round,” Seymore said. “I may be out of line, but it’s very important, and it’ll be an exciting game.

“We’ve got two evenly matched teams,” he said. “It’ll come down to the people who do the fundamentals better and who doesn’t turn the ball over.”