A Shootout victory

Published 12:52 am Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Andalusia Bulldogs turned in a strong overall performance, but was shaky in the secondary as they notched a 48-32 region win over the Blue Devils of Escambia County Friday night at home.

The No. 10 Bulldogs were fresh off their only loss of the season last week against top-ranked UMS Wright, but showed no sings of a hangover early on in their match up with ECHS.

The Blue Devils coughed up the ball deep in their own territory in the first quarter. The Bulldogs recovered the fumble on the ECHS 7-yard line, before punching it on the ground with a touchdown carry from Jamal Hourel.

The Blue Devils answered with a long offensive drive, but the Andy defense stood strong in the red zone, forcing a turnover on downs and getting the ball back at their own 1-yard line.

Quarterback Brayden Burkhardt called his own number, picking up a Bulldog first down on the ground before hitting Michael McCalman for a 50-yard strike down to the Devils’ 15-yard line.

A pass to Devante Jackson over the middle set up a Bulldogs’ touchdown as Derrick Dorsey scampered in from 3 yards out on the next play. The score gave Andy a 14-0 lead with 19 seconds left in the first quarter.

The Blue Devils’ offense didn’t quit, as quarterback Chris Johnson hooked up with Devante Williams on a 40-yard touchdown strike to close the scoring gap to 8 after missing the 2-point conversion.

The Bulldogs took a 21-6 lead going into halftime following a long Andalusia drive. Dorsey capped it off with a 1-yard touchdown run.

The Blue Devils entered the second half with a second wind on offense. Johnson once again found Williams with a deep pass, setting up a first-and-goal at the Andalusia 9-yard line. On the following play, Johnson found Gaetyn Thames through air for a touchdown and ECHS trailed the Bulldogs 21-12 with 6:33 to play in third quarter.

AHS head football coach Brian Seymore said ECHS deserves credit for its performance, which he is hoping his defense can learn from.

“Chris Johnson, he is tough,” Seymore said. “I hope we don’t play another quarterback that good.”

The Devils found success on their next drive as well. Johnson found the end zone on a 1-yard touchdown run and the Blue Devils pulled within 10 points, trailing 28-18 with 2:59 to play in the third quarter.

Andalusia had an answer for the Devils’ scores, as Burkhardt ended a Bulldog drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.

The Devils tried to take advantage of Andy’s shaky secondary play, going deep on their next series. But, Johnson’s pass was picked off by Jud Rogers to give the Bulldogs a new offensive series.

Andalusia capitalized on the turnover with another long drive, ending with another 1-yard touchdown run from Dorsey. With the score, Andalusia led ECHS 35-18.

The teams traded a few more touchdowns late in the game.

Hourel tacked on another pair of rushing scores, but Andy’s defense allowed another touchdown pass from Johnson to Williams. Johnson also found the end zone on the ground with less than a minute to play.

Despite allowing more than 300 yards through the air, the Bulldogs came away with a 48-32 win, improving to 6-1 in Region 4A and 8-1 overall.

Seymore said his defense, and specifically his secondary, must improve before next week’s game against Fairhope.

“We’ve got to sure some things up on defense,” he said. “We really struggled tonight with tackling. We’ve got some things we can work on. We’ve got a tough opponent next week in Fairhope.”

Andalusia is the No. 2 seed in the Class 4A playoffs and has secured a home berth against Childersburg.

The Bulldogs will first meet Fairhope next Friday night at home.