‘Dogs prevail in rivalry

Published 11:34 pm Friday, September 28, 2012

Andalusia's defense was credited with the win Friday night.

Andalusia almost gave Opp the gift of a victory last night, but the Bulldogs held on and made big plays when they needed to to clip the Bobcats 22-14 at Andalusia Municipal Stadium.

In a turnover-riddled game, the Bulldogs stepped up on defense like they always do, holding the Bobcats to just 30 offensive yards in the first half.

Opp countered with an offense that couldn’t get anything going with big plays down the stretch to cause AHS head football coach Brian Seymore to wonder how his secondary allowed players behind it.

“At times, with the way we executed, I really felt like we almost gift-wrapped one for them,” a frustrated Seymore said after the game. “No disrepsect to Opp. They’ve got a quality football team. They are very well-coached.

“I felt like we almost gave the game away with our turnovers, mistakes, blown coverages,” he said.

The Bulldogs and Bobcats’ turnover ratio is something both teams likely want to forget. AHS had six compared to Opp’s four.

OHS head coach Jack Whigham said the credit goes to Andalusia’s defense for the way it prevented his Bobcats’ offense from being a threat.

“It was just tough,” Whigham said. “They’re a good defensive team. We knew they were going to be a good defensive team. They made it hard for us to get anything going.”

With the victory, the Bulldogs improve to 4-1 overall and take a 35-31-3 advantage all time record over Opp after the rivals’ 69th meeting. Opp falls to 2-3 on the season.

Andalusia’s first score came after a more than three-minute march down from its own 12-yard line going into the second quarter.

Bulldogs running back Ty Wallace, who rushed for 81 yards on nine carries, was unstoppable, getting big gains for AHS. He scampered down the field 57 yards to put AHS at the Opp 14-yard line.

From there, Andalusia senior quarterback Michael McCalman connected with Ethan Jones for 16 yards and a score to give the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead with 11:28 left in the second after a successful PAT.

AHS and OHS traded one possession each and then the game went on a tiny roller coaster.

Opp’s Ethan Davis threw an interception to Andalusia’s Eric Dorsey with 1:34 left in the first half to give the Bulldogs the ball back.

However, McCalman slipped up again on the sixth play of the drive, lobbing a pooch pass that skidded off a teammate and fell in the hands of Opp’s Antonio Edwards, who then hit pay dirt from 71 yards to cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 7-6 with less than 15 seconds in the first half.

“Our defense played outstanding,” Whigham said. “It was hard for us to get anything going offensively. We didn’t block them real well. We had some guys that made plays when we had a chance to.”

With all of the momentum in Opp’s hands, the Bobcats kicked a terrible kick off to start the third quarter, but recovered the ball after it was ruled that Andalusia got a five-finger discount on the pig skin.

Andalusia bounced back after the mess up and Bulldogs’ Jud Rogers caught an interception on an Opp reverse play from Ta Bonham.

Javonte Johnson scored on a 39-yard touchdown rush and Derrick Dorsey put the ball in for the 2-point conversion to give AHS a 15-6 lead with 10:14 left in the third quarter.

On Andalusia’s next offensive drive, McCalman passed to Keontya Johnson for a 58-yard strike, which propelled the Bulldogs to take a 22-6 lead after a 2-yard TD rush from the starting QB.

Opp quickly answered with a 60-yard pass from Davis to Justin Adkins to put the Bobcats within 10 yards for another score.

Onterrio Jones scooted the ball in from nine yards and OHS was within threatening distance of the Bulldogs, once again, trailing only 22-14.

McCalman fumbled the ball and Davis threw another interception and both teams couldn’t take advantage of the opportunities that were given.

After Davis’ interception, AHS couldn’t get anything going as Opp’s defense stepped up to the plate and sullied any Bulldog threat.

Rogers kicked a beautiful 46-yard punt from the 14-yard line and Opp then gave the ball up again to put the game away for the Bobcats on another interception.

McCalman rushed for 163 yards on 19 carries and had one touchdown. He completed three passes for 80 yards and a score. J. Johnson rushed for 105 yards on 15 carries.

Jalen Cross had two receptions for 12 yards.

“We were able to make enough plays down the stretch to hold them off,” Seymore said. “We’ve got to find a way to get better. It’s a mystery to me sometimes. You feel like your kids know what they’re doing, and then they get out in the game and kind of lose focus a little bit.”

Jones rushed 60 yards on eight carries to lead OHS.

“They gave us a bunch of turn overs over and we just couldn’t capitalize on them,” Whigham said. “Then, we turned the ball over a couple times at the end of the game. I wish we could’ve played a little better, but we just didn’t. Give Andaluisa credit. They made plays when they had to.”

Andalusia will host Clarke County next week for its homecoming and an important region contest, Seymore said.

“I’m happy for the community and for (the players),” he said. “We have a lot of work ahead of us.”

Opp hosts Southside Selma in region action next week.