A ‘new season’ begins

Published 12:01 am Friday, November 5, 2010

Andalusia coach Brian Seymore said he knows it’s the start of a new season tonight as his Bullodgs play host to Escambia County in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs at Bulldogs Stadium.

“Everybody’s 0-0 now, and we’re playing a quality opponent in Escambia County,” Seymore said. “They’re a well-coached, athletic team with a lot of size and a lot of speed.”

Last week, the Bulldogs closed out their regular season with a 31-21 win over county rival Opp.

This week, Andalusia will face a Blue Devils team that finished their regular season at 7-3, where their only losses came to Class 4A powerhouses, and region opponents No. 1 Thomasville, No. 3 Jackson and UMS-Wright.

“I guess everybody says it’s going to be a game between the No. 1 seed (Andalusia) against the No. 4 seed (Escambia County),” Seymore said. “Coming from region one, they’re a quality football team.”

Escambia County runs multiple formations in its offense, utilizing the spread and pro set type formations, Blue Devils coach Mark Heaton said. On defense, Escambia County runs a 3-4 defense.

At the helm of the Blue Devils’ offense is senior quarterback, and multi-purpose player Ricco Stallworth.

“He’s got all of the tools that a player of that caliber possesses,” Seymore said. “He brings all of his size and speed and athleticism to the table. He’s definitely the central focus of our defense.”

In addition to Stallworth, the Bulldogs have Tocorian and Damien Brown on offense, with Dylan Broadbent and Tyler Nero heading up their offensive line. Broadbent and Nero weigh more than 200 pounds each.

Seymore said Escambia County’s size is also a concern for his defense, who allowed 128 points in the regular season.

“They’ve got some big players,” he said. “They’re very impressive on the defensive line. Offensively, we’re going to have to make sure we’re moving and slanting, and make sure we’re playing good gap assignment football.”

To help Andalusia move the ball tonight on offense, the Bulldogs will rely on senior running back Derrick King.

King has rushed 1,178 yards on 184 carries this season and has scored 11 touchdowns.

“He’s a very special kid,” Heaton said. “He means more to that football teams and that’s a guy we’ve got to contain.”

Also on the offensive front for Andalusia is junior Jacard Townsend. While Townsend has been used in the Bulldogs’ running game, he has shown his ability to be able to catch the ball for big gains. He had six receptions for 104 yards in the regular season.

Heaton said he is “impressed” with the type players Andalusia has on its team.

“They play so hard,” he said. “Every game we’ve seen them, they play hard nose football. That always makes a good football team.”

Defensively, Andalusia has Townsend and senior linebacker Johnnie Jones. Last week, Jones netted 13 tackles against Opp.

Seymore said the starting quarterback role will go to Deion Akins, and C.P. Rogers will be his back up.

In the last two games of the regular season for the Bulldogs, their defensive secondary has allowed points on the board late in the game on big plays made by the opponent’s offense.

Seymore said he has stressed to his players the importance of playing the whole game this week.

“We can’t keep giving up on the big plays,” he said. “I want our kids to play hard every single snap. That one play can be the outcome of the game.”

In order to have success tonight, Heaton said the focus has to be on the entirety of Andalusia’s team.

“They’ve got a lot of guys on the field that can do a lot of different things,” Heaton said. “You can’t focus on one individual.

“We’re looking forward to having a great night,” he said. “Everybody’s going to get their money’s worth for sure.”

Seymore added he hopes the turnout will be good tonight.

“These guys really deserve it,” he said. “It’s a good opportunity to see a quality football game.”

Kickoff in Andalusia is at 7 p.m.

Andalusia’s Montell Lee (51), Johnnie Jones (45) and Ralph Sims (26) gang tackle Opp’s Richard Davis last week. The Bulldogs will play host to Escambia County tonight in the first round of the state playoffs. | Andrew Garner/Star-News