Facing a big test

Published 12:01 am Friday, September 21, 2012

Andalusia’s Zach Ward (14), Daniel Henderson (20) and Hiten Patel (2) wrap up on a Hillcrest-Evergreen player last week in Evergreen. The Bulldogs will have to tackle well this week to contain the Tigers’ offense. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Andalusia will face its first big test of the season tonight as the seventh-ranked Thomasville Tigers pay a visit to Bulldogs Stadium.

AHS (3-0, 2-0 in Class 4A, Region 1) has cruised through its first three games of the season, despite getting down early in games. The most recent was against Hillcrest-Evergreen, where the Bulldogs trailed 18-3 at half time before mounting a 33-0 second half to beat the Jaguars in region action.

Thomasville had the same week, sort of, against UMS-Wright. UMS went ahead 21-0 and eventually won 49-42 over the Tigers, but they came back with the help of senior running back Delvonte White (No. 21) who rushed for 114 yards on 11 carries and scored four touchdowns. White also plays on the kick off return team.

AHS head football coach Brian Seymore said White is “quick and explosive.”

“He has very good speed,” Seymore said. “He’s very elusive, a danger in the open field, a runner. We’ve got to do a good job, not only in our special teams, but we’ve got to do a good job defensively, tackling.”

THS (2-1, 1-1) runs a Wing-T offense and at the helm is senior quarterback Tevin Watters (No. 10). Watters can throw — 21-yard TD pass last week — and run — rushing TDs from 5 and 35 yards — a lethal combination.

Seymore claimed that Watters is going to be the most “complete” QB AHS will see this year.

“There’s a lot of talented quarterbacks in the area, but I think when it comes to being a complete athlete, we’ll may not face a better athletic quarterback all year,” he said. “He can throw it well. He can run it well. He has the ability to make the real big plays for those guys on offense.”

And those are the reasons why Andalusia’s defense has to work this week as a group, the coach said.

“We’ve got to do a good job of reading their linemen,” Seymore said. “We’ve got a good defensive plan. You can’t really tell until you see it at game speed. That’s the difference. It’s hard to similate what they give you because they are so talented offensively.”

The last time Andalusia played Thomasville was a road region contest in 2009. AHS lost in a shutout, 51-0.

Like every game this season so far, the Bulldogs haven’t gotten off to a good start.

Seymore said he wants to keep the tempo at a fast pace on offense because he believes the team can take control early.

“If they load the box up, we’ve got to be able to throw the ball down field, and if they play in coverage, then we’ve got to be able to run the ball inside,” he said. “I think our kids are getting more adept to what we expect on offense. We feel like we can move the ball and put points on the board. That’s the key.”

Other than it being a region contest for AHS, it’s also a big home game because the Bulldogs are welcoming a Class 4A Thomasville, who is associated with winning championships, Seymore said.

“We want to get mentioned (with THS as a championship caliber team),” he said. “We want to get to the point, that people say, hey, Andalusia’s got a solid football program. I think the opportunity is there.

“We’ve got a good opportunity in front of us,” he said. “We’ve got to go out there and execute at a high level and eliminate mistakes. I think, if we do that, then it’ll be a four-quarter battle. The team who makes the most plays and least amount of mistakes will come out on top.”