AHS, Opp to hold showdown

Published 12:02 am Friday, September 27, 2013

It doesn’t matter if it’s called Andalusia-Opp or Opp-Andalusia, because both will meet on the gridiron tonight at Channell-Lee Stadium for bragging rights for the next 365 days.

Tonight’s game will be the 70th meeting between the two cross-town rivals. Andalusia holds 35-31-3 advantage over Opp going into the game, and has won the last three straight games by an average of eight points.

“It’s a big game,” AHS head football coach Brian Seymore said. “It’s big for both communities. I know that both sides will be jacked up. I think both teams will be prepared and ready to play.”

OHS head football coach Jack Whigham said he respects the rivalry itself because it always lends itself to good competition.

“I respect their coaches, I respect their athletes and at the same time, you want to beat them,” Whigham said. “You want them to not do well and you want to do well. I think it’s OK to have a healthy rivalry.”

For Andalusia, it starts with senior quarterback Michael McCalman. He leads the Bulldogs in rushing with 562 yards on 69 carries.

Additionally, the ninth-ranked Bulldogs (4-0) have running back Derrick Dorsey, who has compiled 347 yards on the ground.

In the receiving corp, Andalusia’s Devante Jackson has 13 receptions for 115 yards.

Opp is led by quarterback Ethan Davis and running back Orlando Lacey in the back field.

“I think Ethan’s got a lot of experience at quarterback,” Seymore said. “I think he does a good job of running their offense. He’s been pretty consistent over the last two years. He makes good decisions. Orlando is a very young athlete, but he is something you can’t coach. He’s got a lot of speed — probably the fastest kid we’ve faced all year.”

Whigham said McCalman is what makes Andalusia “go” on offense.

“They’ve got good players around him,” Whigham said. “As he goes, their offense goes. He’s been running this offense for full time for the last two years, and even played a lot as a sophomore.”

One thing Whigham said he’s noticed from the AHS QB is his willingness to throw the ball.

“You can tell the kid’s worked some during the summer and what not on throwing,” he said. “He’s throwing the ball a lot better than he did in the past. That gives you a lot better idea avbout his competitiveness and work ethic.”

Last week, Andalusia and Opp (2-2) came away with wins against region opponents. The Bulldogs got a come-from-behind 20-17 victory over Thomasville, while the Bobcats topped Excel 7-0. Opp’s only touchdown was on an interception return.

Opp’s win last week came after two tough losses to T.R. Miller and Bayside Academy.

Whigham said he believes in his team’s game plan for tonight.

“We feel like we’ve got an excellent game plan, and they’ve got a really good defense,” Whigham said. “The two linebackers are the heart of their defense — Montel Lee and Daniel Henderson. They have some really good defensive linemen also, but the linebackers are what makes their defense really, really good.”

Andalusia’s defense has always been good and it’s been tough for teams to move the ball against them, Whigham added.

“I have a healthy respect for their coaches and what they do, but at the same time, we’re going to do everything in our power to win the game,” Whigham said. “We feel like we have a good opportunity — we feel like we have a better opportunity than what people are giving us credit for.”

The players coming in over-confident is a big concern, especially after last week’s victory, Seymore said.

“They’ve got to ask themselves, are you going to be complacent and be satisfied with that win or keep moving forward?” Seymore said. “I feel like our kids had a really good and physical week of practice. I think our kids will respond, go out and play physical, and go out and play fast.”

Kick off tonight is at 7.