Bulldogs, Tigers to battle in…

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Andalusia smackdown

Jacard Townsend may be a player of few words, but when on the football field, his actions speak for themselves.

At 6-foot-2 and 203 pounds, the senior linebacker and tailback — in most cases — will try and help lead Andalusia to another Class 4A state playoff berth this Friday night, when the Bulldogs will play host to rival Straughn at Bulldogs Stadium.

Townsend has played football since he was in his termite year, and the sport has become something he loves.

When asked about what he thinks of the game this week, Townsend said it’s going to be close early, and then the Bulldogs will probably “win out the rest of the game.”

“I’ve been waiting for this,” he said.

So far this season, Townsend has mounted a ground attack of 377 yards on 40 carries and has scored 11 touchdowns for the Bulldogs — a team high.

Much like most players on football teams, Townsend plays on both sides of the ball.

When he’s not crushing through defenders on the ground, Townsend lines himself up on defense to get a shot at the opponent’s quarterback.

This week, Townsend will be opposite of Straughn senior quarterback Zack Turvin, who is 14 yards shy of the leading rusher for the Tigers’ Chase Short with 278 yards.

Townsend assured that there wasn’t any one person he was gunning for on the field this week.

“They just talk a lot of junk,” he said.

When asked what the team wants to prove this year against its rival, Townsend said it’s that the Bulldogs will dominate in every meeting from now on.

Setting aside the rivalry, if the Bulldogs get a win this week, then they’ll have secured a spot in the post season.

Townsend said if Andalusia wins, then they’ll more than likely play against the team that beat them last year in the first round (Escambia County).

“It’s sweet because the team that beat us last year, we’ll probably play them again and beat them this year — or we’ll try to,” he said.

But when it comes to suiting up and executing plays on both sides of the ball, Townsend said the team has one goal every play.

“We want to hit them hard,” he said. “And maybe next time, they won’t come your way, or they’ll keep hurting.”

Townsend is the son of Ken Townsend and Sherry Marshall.

Battle of whits

Zack Turvin takes the snap from the center, and takes off, weaving through defenders for either a short gain, first down or for a touchdown.

This Friday night, the Straughn senior quarterback will take his first snap against rival Andalusia, and he said the team will be ready.

Turvin, at 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds, has completed 59 percent of his passes so far this season.

However, it’s the running game that suits the senior so well.

He has rushed for 264 yards on 50 carries and has scored three touchdowns.

Running on the ground isn’t unfamiliar territory for Turvin. Last season, he started at wingback for the Tigers.

“It’s going great so far,” Turvin said about being quarterback. “I’m just trying to learn fast with everything I’m doing.”

Turvin said the transition from wingback to quarterback was drastic.

“It’s the leader aspect of it,” he said. “You have to know the reads of our offense, and the passes of course. You’ve got a whole lot more to know at quarterback than at running back.”

Last season, Andalusia came away with a 10-0 victory over the Tigers. The points were scored on a touchdown from a bad snap on a punt, and a field goal from more than 30 yards out.

Turvin said the game this week will be a “close” one.

“It will be loud, and it will be intense,” he said. “Whoever makes the least amount of mistakes will win the game.”

Turvin will help lead the Tigers’ offense against an Andalusia defense that has allowed an average of 10 points per game this season.

Turvin isn’t swayed by that.

“Our coaches have a good game plan for our game,” he said. “I think if we execute that and don’t turnover the football, then we’ll do just fine.”

In week five, Straughn beat Opp 14-13 in overtime because it prepared for the Bobcats’ play on both sides of the ball.

Turvin said it feels similar this week at practice as it did in week five.

“It’s about the same way,” Turvin said. “Nobody is giving us a shot at winning this game.”

Additionally, Turvin said the team realizes that from now on, the team needs to win the next two-out-of-three region games in order to get a playoff berth. Andalusia only needs to win this week to earn its playoff berth.

“We’d really like to win three out of three,” Turvin said.

Turvin is the son of John and Kathy Turvin of Rose Hill.