Published 12:38 am Saturday, September 20, 2014

0920 spt-Jamal Hourel

Jamal Hourel rushes for a gain in Andalusia’s loss to St. James at home Friday night. The Bulldogs fell to 1-4. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

After scoreless 3 quarters, St. James prevails

Penalties and turnovers plagued Andalusia in a 21-7 region loss to No. 9 St. James on Friday night.

Through three quarters, both teams were scoreless. The Bulldogs fought hard on defense and had good drives on offense, but couldn’t get the ball in the end zone.

Andalusia had three turnovers compared to the Trojans’ two for the game.

Penalties cost the Bulldogs 70 total yards.

“That killed us,” AHS head football coach Brian Seymore said of the penalties and turnovers. “It’s very frustrating. The kids played with a lot of effort and with a lot of heart. We can’t continue to keep turning the ball over in crucial situations.

“They’ve haunted us all year,” he said.

Two of Andalusia’s turnovers came in the fourth quarter, when all the scoring occurred.

St. James punted the ball, but it took an awkward hop straight to returner Jamal Hourel’s lower leg, and the Trojans gobbled it up with 2:53 left to play. The second and third came on an interception from AHS senior quarterback Brayden Burkhardt that iced the game for the visiting team from Montgomery. Burkhardt’s pass was deflected and then caught by St. James’ Timothy Taylor.

Prior to the first turnover in the fourth, the Bulldogs held the Trojans to their own 11-nyard line, trailing 13-7.

“The defense played well right there,” Seymore said. “If we had fielded the punt right, we had a great opportunity to win the game and take the lead right there. It’s unfortunate. I think our kids have got to keep working. They’ve got to.

“We’ve got to be able to be better on offense,” he said. “We’ve got to be able to score more points.”

Andalusia falls to 1-4 overall, and 1-2 in Class 4A, Region 2. The Bulldogs host long-time rival, Opp next week. OHS defeated Geneva 30-13 in region play last night.

St. James took advantage of the Hourel turnover with 2:53 left to go by executing a four-play, 47-yard drive that was capped by a 24-yard touchdown rush from senior running back Jonathan Robinson to put the Trojans ahead for good at 21-7.

The Bulldogs punted to start the fourth quarter and St. James started from its own 27 with 11:48 to go.

Still scoreless, STJ put together a five-play, 73-yard drive that was aided by a Bulldog pass interference.

On the Andalusia 44, the Trojans put the ball in quarterback Mervyl Melendez’s hands for a 44-yard strike to Nolan Fields with 9:57 to go.

The Bulldogs needed a spark and they got it in the form of junior running back James Montgomery.

Montgomery, who finished with 110 yards on 12 carries, found running room and rushed the ball in for a TD with 9:09 left to tie the game at 7-all with the extra point by Chase Hopkins.

That lead wouldn’t last long as the Trojans put the ball back into the end zone when Melendez found Auburn commit Jalen Harries for a 25-yard TD pass with 7:28 left. With the extra point no good, the Trojans led 13-7.

Looking forward, the Bulldogs have Opp next week, then host Bullock County for Homecoming on Oct. 3 and visit Headland on Oct. 10 for the next three weeks.

“We’re going to look at film and evaluate and see what we did,” Seymore said. “Offensively, it comes down to making plays. We’re going to look at it again this week. We’ve got to find a way to put the ball in our playmakers’ hands.”

Throughout the first three quarters and at times in the fourth, Andalusia moved the ball well with Hourel and Montgomery displaying a power-run game.

As they did in the second half, penalties pulled AHS back in much-needed scoring drives. The Bulldogs couldn’t get in from the Trojans’ 3-yard line in the first quarter, thanks to a holding call.

Seymore said to get back in the thick of things, the players have to make those big plays.

“Those three or four plays I think determine the game,” he said. “We’ve got to start making those plays. Our opponents are making them. We’re not making those three or four big plays in the game. We’ve got to do a better job from top to bottom. It starts with coaches and goes down to the players. I have faith in these kids, and you’ll see a whole new team next week.”

Hourel rushed 19 times for 109 yards. Burkhardt went 6-of-19 for 36 yards.