A similar opponent

Published 12:01 am Friday, November 2, 2012

Andalusia’s Montell Lee (46) tackles Escambia County’s Chris Johnson during last week’s game in Atmore. | Jeffrey Moore Jr./Star-News

Andalusia runs an option offense and so does Fairhope.

Andalusia runs a multiple defense and so does Fairhope.

The biggest difference between the two schools? Size.

The Bulldogs will make the almost three-hour trek South to face the Class 6A Pirates at W.C. Majors Field tonight in their final game of the regular season.

Like AHS, FHS earned a spot to play in the first round of the playoffs last week. Fairhope beat Northview 58-23. Coincidentally, the team the Bulldogs were originally slated to play at home this week was Northview.

Due to a scheduling conflict, AHS head football coach Brian Seymore had to go with Fairhope (6-3).

“We’re very similar,” Seymore said. “We’ve got similarities on both sides of the ball. They’re option-based, just like we are. They use it in spread formations. It’s going to be looking like we’re playing each other.”

Andalusia’s Class 4A state playoff berth came on the road against Escambia County in Atmore. The Bulldogs won that fight, 23-8, and will travel to face Beauregard next week in the first round. This week will mark the fifth straight week playing on the road for AHS.

Fairhope’s three losses this season have come to Daphne, Foley and Spanish Fort.

“They’re a very solid football team,” Seymore said. “I think it’s a golden opportunity for us to go down and take advantage and get the chance to play a quality football team in a very nice venue.”

During Fairhope’s win over Northview, senior quarterback Nate Andrews scored seven touchdowns to lead the Pirates. Andrews earned the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s Prep Spotlight Player of the Week for week nine.

Seymore said Fairhope reminds him of a “bigger-scaled UMS-Wright.”

“They’re very sound offensively and defensively,” he said. “They don’t make a whole lot of mistakes and don’t beat themselves.”

Fairhope has allowed 203 points on defense, compared to Andalusia’s 126. The Pirates have scored 303 points so far this season. The Bulldogs have scored 212.

When asked what the biggest difference is between the two squads, Seymore said it’s the Pirates’ “size.”

“I think team-speed wise, we’re very confident,” he said. “I think, of course, week in and week out, they play 6A opponents to the likes of Daphne, Foley and they’ve played Spanish Fort, their three losses.”

Andalusia’s losses this season came to Thomasville, UMS-Wright and Clarke County.

“We’re going to try and find out what the biggest difference is, and that’s why we’re playing a team of this caliber,” Seymore said. “People are asking the question, why are we playing Fairhope? I’ve heard it all week.

“I think people get caught up in the record sometimes and I think they’ve got to understand that if we want to get to that next level, then we’ve got to play these type caliber teams,” he said. “They’ve got to understand, we’ve got to face adversity. We’ve got to be able to make those big type plays in crunch situations.”

Seymore said he’s wanted to challenge his players this season because it will matter in the “long run.”

“That’s what we talked about (this week),” he said. “I know everybody’s going to question the game choice. In the long run, I think it’s going to make us better for the following week when we go to Beauregard on the road.”

The Bulldogs are as healthy as they have been this season with only one player — Austin Leverington (deep bone bruise in his knee) — not playing in tonight’s game, the coach said.

This week’s game against FHS couldn’t have come at a better time, Seymore said.

“I really hope it works to our benefit,” he said. “I hope we’re lucky and we stay away from key injuries.”

Kick off in Fairhope tonight is at 7.