Andy, Opp to spar in annual game

Published 12:02 am Friday, September 26, 2014

0926 spt-andy, opp

Right: Andalusia’s Kendarious Townsend (25), Austin Blue (57) and Derrick Dorsey (21) line up on defense last week. Left: Opp coach Marcus Taylor instructs the offensive line. | Photos by Andrew Garner/Star-News

It’s the fifth Friday of the season and time for the Andalusia-Opp football game.

The Bulldogs and Bobcats will meet for the 73rd time in their programs’ history tonight at AHS for a game that could turn the tide for one team and keep the momentum going for the other heading into the second-half of the season.

So far this season, Andalusia (1-4) has faced some pretty tough opponents. The Bulldogs’ losses have come to T.R. Miller, UMS-Wright, Ashford and St. James. All four teams are undefeated and have combined to win 18 games this year.

Opp, on the other hand, is 3-1 overall with wins over Luverne, Hillcrest-Evergreen and Geneva.

After AHS fell 21-7 to STJ last week, the Bulldogs responded well and had one of their “better” weeks of practice, their head coach, Brian Seymore said.

“I hope that carries over to the game (tonight),” Seymore said. “That’s the main thing. We’ve gone back to full pads three days a week. We’re going back to the basics and fundamentals. It’s the little things that will help make the big things better.”

First-year OHS head football coach Brent Hill said he understands the deep tradition the rivalry has, adding that he doesn’t want the emotions to hinder his players’ focus and execution.

“They’re talented,” Hill said. “Everybody is going to look at this team and think they’re not as good as they are. Nobody wants to look at the fact that the teams they’ve lost to are all undefeated. They haven’t lost to bad football teams. They’re losing to great football teams.”

Even though both don’t share the same classification, Andalusia (4A) and Opp (3A) tout players who can pose threats on either defense.

For AHS, it starts with a recent running back combo in Jamal Hourel and James Montgomery. Hourel and Montgomery provided the Bulldogs a good 1-2 punch during the first three quarters of last week’s loss to the Trojans by running the ball hard and right at STJ. Senior quarterback Brayden Burkhardt, who can run and throw if needed, will provide a good amount of diversity for AHS. Additionally, senior Derrick Dorsey at running back, will be getting some reps on offense as his position changed to linebacker during last week’s game.

Opp has do-it-all sophomore quarterback Orlando Lacey. Seymore described Lacey as “dynamic” and one who can “make things happen.”

When the play calls for it, the Bobcats will give it to sophomore running back Hennis Washington, who is also on Seymore’s radar.

In the “Wildcat” formation, OHS likes to have junior Ty White running the play as he uses his size and strength to find yards or get the ball in the end zone.

“Their offense play calling is pretty similar to us,” Hill said. “They’re running the ball the majority of the time. They will throw it. In the passing game, we can’t load the box. We’ve got to play the same game they play against us.”

In the overall series, Andalusia holds a 38-32-3 advantage.

Last season, the Bobcats jumped out on AHS early to take a lead into halftime, but the Bulldogs bounced back in the second half for a 43-26 victory.

After talking about Opp’s offensive weapons, Seymore gave props to Hill and former Bulldogs assistant coach Marcus Taylor, who coaches the Bobcats’ offensive line.

“I know what kind of coach he is,” Seymore said. “He coached here for four years. I know both sides will be very motivated. It comes down to which team executes the best and who limits the penalties and turnovers.”

Hill said the rivalry, while it is important, should be for the fans.

“I want a good clean game,” he said. “I’d like for both teams to execute well and have no injuries and may the best team win.”

Kick off tonight at AHS is at 7.