‘Dogs ride defense to win

Published 1:09 am Saturday, September 8, 2012

Andalusia's Ethan Jones (44) pursues a Monroe County player last night. | Jeffrey Moore Jr./Star-News

The Andalusia Bulldogs capitalized on five Monroe County turnovers as they picked up their first regional win in convincing fashion, 41-7.

While the Andalusia offense scored more than enough points to come away with a victory, their success was made possible by a stout, hard-hitting Bulldog defense that caused multiple turnovers and refused to let Monroe County even sniff the endzone.

Andalusia head coach Brian Seymore echoed those sentiments after the game.

“We’re going to rely on our defense,” Seymore said. “They carried us last week and they carried us again tonight.”

The Andy defense got things going early with an interception by junior safety Will Harrison and a fumble recovery by Sam Byrd on the Tigers’ first two possessions of the game.

However, the offense couldn’t capitalize on either turnover and was forced to punt both times.

But after another Tiger fumble on their next possession, recovered by Zach Ward, the Andalusia offense began to click.

Junior quarterback Michael McCalman hit Jaylon Cross for a 13-yard gain, then ran it himself for a first down.

Then, after a holding penalty and being hit for a loss on third down, the Bulldogs faced fourth down and sent the punting team onto the field to kick the ball away.

Junior punter Jud Rogers took the snap, but instead of punting, fired a strike to senior Keontya Johnson to keep the drive alive and move the chains.

The Andalusia offense retook the field at the opposing 34-yard line, and a few plays later on the first play of the second quarter, sophomore Derrick Dorsey broke through several tackles on his way to a 28-yard touchdown run to give the Bulldogs a lead which they would protect for the remainder of the game. After a blocked PAT, Andalusia led 6-0.

Punts by both teams left Andalusia with the ball on their own 23-yard line, where they began their next scoring drive.

Several key passes from McCalman to receiver Ty Wallace helped move the Bulldogs down to Monroe County’s six-yard line, where Dorsey broke into the endzone for the second time on the night to extend the ‘Dogs lead.

McCalman then rolled right and hit Javonte Johnson for a successful 2-point conversion and they led 14-0 with 6:45 remaining in the half.

Andalusia then got an opportunity to showcase their two-minute offense after another fumble recovery left them at their own 15-yard line with 1:27 remaining in the half.

A successful mix of McCalman keepers and intermediate passes advanced the offense down to the opposing 20-yard line, when McCalman dropped back and hit Keontya Johnson for six.

A Courey Hopkins PAT made the halftime score 21-0 Bulldogs.

Both offenses had trouble out of the gate in the second half, but a muffed punt by the Tigers gave the ball to Andalusia on the Monroe County 25 yard line.

McCalman scampered into the endzone two plays later from 17 yards out on a QB keeper, and a successful PAT by Hopkins put the Bulldogs on top, 28-0 with 1:26 left in the third.

Early in the fourth quarter, the Tigers put their only points of the night on the board when they returned an interception to the house. The PAT was good and with 10:15 left in the fourth, the score was 28-7.

The Bulldogs tacked on two more late scores, one of them coming from the second team offense, to win by a score of 41-7.

Andalusia travels to Hillcrest (Evergreen) next week for their second regional match-up of the year.