Region battle royale

Published 12:03 am Friday, October 15, 2010

Andalusia's Deion Akins will start for the Bulldogs tonight at quarterback. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

After defeating Straughn last week in a region rival game, Andalusia will set its sights on winning the Class 4A, Region 2 title tonight in a road game against Ashford.

Andalusia (6-1, 5-0) is facing an Ashford team that is undefeated this season so far. The Bulldogs faced a similar team last week in rival Straughn, when they handed the ninth-ranked Tigers their first loss, winning 10-0.

“The biggest game was last week with it being a rival and region game,” Seymore said. “This week is that, and much bigger. It’s that important that we go out there with focus and intensity to try and seal the deal.”

In last week’s game, the Bulldogs’ defense scored the only touchdown, and the offense only added three points on a field goal by sophomore Courey Hopkins. In addition, Andalusia only had 116 yards on offense against Straughn’s defense.

Ashford (7-0, 5-0) has a few key players in wide receiver Octavious Snell; running backs Malvin Anderson and Jarvus Moore; and quarterback James Gardner.

Gardner is averaging 99.3 yards in passing per game through week six. He has six touchdowns and a reception. He also is the top defensive player with five interceptions and one blocked extra point.

On the ground, Anderson rushes 115 yards per game on average and has scored seven touchdowns, through week six.

Snell, the main pass threat to the Bulldogs’ defense, has caught between 12-15 receptions for two touchdowns.

“We’re going to have a lot of folks in the box to stop the run,” Seymore said. “We’ve got to pay attention to (Snell). He’s a good receiver.”

Seymore added that playing good defense is also a must tonight.

“We’ve got to do a good job of playing assignment football, and match their intensity in the physical aspect of the game,” Seymore said. “They’re going to be a little bigger up front than we are. We’ve got to continue to play good team defense.”

Seymore said as far as the Bulldogs’ offense is concerned, he’ll be starting back up quarterback Deion Akins tonight.

“I felt like he did a better job last week, and when we got the early lead, I felt like we didn’t need to risk anything,” he said. “Both Adam Zelensky and Deion will be available, but Deion got the nod, and we’ll go with him.”

Andalusia’s Derrick King has been a key player for the Bulldogs on offense this season. Seymore said King will see some action on both sides of the ball. King caught two interceptions from Straughn’s Josh Dewrell.

“We’ll use him where we think we need to be successful,” Seymore said of King. “If we feel like we can use him on defense, then we will.”

Others that will be contributing on offense for Andalusia include running back Joseph Flowers and tight end Jacard Townsend.

“They’ve got several weapons,” Ashford coach Chip Harris said about Andalusia’s offense.

Harris said he is also concerned with Andalusia’s defense, who has only allowed 27 points in region play this season.

“Obviously, scoring points against Andalusia is going to be a big task,” Harris said. “They’ve got a phenomenal defense, and we’re going to have to stay extremely focused on offense.

“I think the biggest thing you’ve got to do is be on your blocks, and be patient with their defense,” he said. “They want to get you behind the chains and get you in certain downs and blitzes. The best way to combat that is to block and to avoid penalties. That’s the biggest thing.”

Making sure everything goes his team’s way is what Seymore is aiming for tonight.

“The players understand what they’re playing for,” Seymore said. “They understand the magnitude of the game. They have been pretty focused on both sides of the ball.

“We’ll go out there and carry out the game plan, and maybe get some breaks here and there, and hope everything falls into place.”