Bulldogs’ wanted more ‘adversity’ in ‘11

Published 12:01 am Thursday, November 10, 2011

Andalusia’s Michael McCalman hands off to Carlos Luckie during last week’s game. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

The afternoon sun shines on Andalusia’s practice field, where tackling dummies sit unused, waiting for next season.

Andalusia’s perfect season came to an end last week in the Class 4A state playoffs, where the Bulldogs fell to Elmore County 21-15.

Throughout the entire 2011 season, Bulldogs head coach Brian Seymore said he had hoped the players would have had the opportunity to play through some tough situations to help them later in the season.

“I think that was probably one of our downfalls of the year,” Seymore said. “We didn’t face enough adversity in the Opp game (Andalusia won 21-13). It was a hard-played ball game by two quality football teams.

“I think we needed more of that through the season,” he said. “I think that was probably the thing that was missing most games.”

Andalusia and Opp were playing tight in the first half on Oct. 28. However, the Bulldogs scored one touchdown in the second quarter, and held a 6-0 lead going into half time.

Opp came out, and scored a quick touchdown on a kick off return to go up 7-6.

Then, Andalusia went on to outscore the Bobcats 15-13 in the second half to preserve its 10-0 season, a feat that hasn’t been done since 1977.

Seymore said accomplishing that goal was big for the team.

“We came out, and our kids played hard and I felt like our coaches did a great job making the adjustments through the year,” he said.

Andalusia began with a home-opening win over Carroll-Ozark, and then went on to beat Alabama Christian, St. James and Bullock County to get a good start in region play. The Bulldogs then faced their first ranked opponent of the season in Class 3A’s T.R. Miller. Andalusia went on to win 35-10 at THS.

The next week, the Bulldogs beat Hillcrest-Evergreen 40-6 in Evergreen, and then held rival Straughn to three points in a 37-3 victory in week seven.

Andalusia then went on to face Ashford at home, held a 25-8 lead at half time and faced what Seymore said was the team’s first dose of adversity of the season in the second half.

The Yellow Jackets put up 14 quick points in the second half, but the Bulldogs’ defense held late for the 31-22 win, and the program’s second consecutive region championship.

After that, the Bulldogs cruised to a 63-0 shut out win over Headland before the final regular season contest against Opp.

When asked if he ever thought the team would be 10-0 before the playoffs, Seymore said a lot of things had to have happened for them to accomplish this goal.

“You always hope you can win them all,” he said. “A lot goes into being undefeated because you’ve got to be a little bit lucky, and keep kids healthy and injury-free.

“A lot of things went on for us to be undefeated,” he said. “I’m very proud of our players and coaching staff for achieving that goal.”

With the pride of completing a perfect 10-0 season on their backs, the Bulldogs went in to the first round of the playoffs to face Elmore County, a No. 4 seed team out of Region 3.

During last week’s game, Andalusia had five turnovers, which Seymore said the players didn’t intend to let happen.

“With the game last week, you faced adversity from the time of kick off to the time of the last second of the clock,” Seymore said. “I think we need more of that. We need that challenge through the game, to play at your highest level.

“Our kids played extremely hard last week,” he said. “They wanted to go out there and play well. It’s hard to overcome that many mistakes.”

Seymore said a positive that he can take away from this season is the experience the coaches had with the senior class on the team.

“I’ll always say they’re responsbile for getting the program where it needs to be,” he said. “They’re responsible for two region championships, and they are a very special and hard-working group.”

Andalusia has the potential of having 20 seniors on the squad next season.

And, a negative?

“The sense that I feel like we could’ve done a lot more,” he said. “If the chips would’ve fell right after the first week of the playoffs, I felt like we could’ve done so much more.

“Knowing — that’ll always be in the back of your mind what we could’ve done with that adversity,” he said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get that opportunity.”