Bulldogs to play ‘quality’ opponent in Jackson

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 24, 2012

Andalusia defensive coordinator Marshall Locke (center) talks with players during a recent practice. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Class 4A defending state champion and now Class 5A school Jackson will visit Andalusia tonight in the Bulldogs’ annual jamboree football game at Bulldogs Stadium.

For the past few months, the Bulldogs have been working out in the weight room and for several weeks, AHS has been hitting the practice field to get ready for another season.

Jackson enters tonight’s preseason contest with Danny Powell, the long-time Leroy coach who won multiple championships, at the helm for his second year for the Aggies.

AHS head football coach Brian Seymore said JHS is a “quality” opponent to face, and he hopes it will pay dividends down the road.

“In jamborees, you get to see what you accomplished and see the things you need to work on a little bit,” Seymore said. “With Jackson, we’ve got a very, very quality opponent. Being the 4A defending state champion and an elite 5A program, there’s no doubt (they’re good).”

Seymore said the biggest goal tonight he wants the team to accomplish is to learn “how to compete” in a big atmosphere.

“They have quality athletes,” he said. “They’ve got speed and size and are well-coached. We’ve got to learn how to perform at that level to be a team that can compete when it comes to playoff time.”

Last season, AHS fell in the first round of the 4A state playoffs to Elmore County.

This season, the Bulldogs have a tougher schedule as they visit opponents in Region 1, Seymore said.

“That’s why I feel like we have a tougher schedule and it’s going to pay off because definitely (tonight) we’ll know exactly what we have to do as far as shoring things up for the opening game against Straughn,” Seymore said.

Jamborees not only give players an opportunity to play against another opponent, but it gives other players a chance to show what they’re made of on the field, Seymore said.

The format of the jamboree is that the freshmen and younger players will play the first quarter. The second string players on offense and defense will play the second quarter.

In the second half, the varsity squads will compete in a “play who you want to play” format, Seymore said.

On special teams, players will line up, but play will not be live, he said.

“We want to concentrate on the aspect of playing offense and defense,” Seymore said. “There’s a lot of full speed contact and we want to try to keep that at a minimum (on special teams).”

Seymore said there are areas on offense and defense he’s especially looking forward to seeing tonight.

“Offensively, the biggest concern I’ve got is the offensive line,” he said. “I feel like we’ve got a young group there and we’ll have a bunch of the same kids who are playing the first half playing the second half. As fall practice has progressed, they’ve gotten better every day. They understand our offense. They know what we’re trying to get accomplished.

“It’s just about being aggressive and knowing your assignments,” he said. “Coach (Earnie) Ragland has done a great job.

“Defensively, I think with Jackson coming in and being such a seasoned true spread team, I think the biggest thing I’m looking at is our secondary play,” he said. “We lost two quality players in the secondary, and I think mixing our coverages up (will be a key). With playing the spread, you’ve got to be able to tackle in the space. As a team, we’ve got to tackle well.”

Tickets are $6 at the gate and $5 in advance.

Kick off tonight is at 7.