Published 12:44 am Saturday, September 27, 2014

0927 spt-James Montgomery rushes

Andalusia squeaks past Opp

With the score tied at 21-all and with just more than 2 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Andalusia football coaches knew who they were going to give the ball to in extra time.

Andalusia junior running back James Montgomery ran right at Opp on a 10-yard touchdown rush and junior kicker Chase Hopkins made the point after to help give the Bulldogs a thrilling 28-27 overtime victory over the Bobcats on Friday night.

Montgomery, who scored three touchdowns, setting the tone early with a long kickoff return for a score in the first quarter, said it was a “dream” of his to make the winning score.

“I’m doing this for my brothers and everybody that’s in that locker room right there,” Montgomery said. “This has been my dream to make a big play to win it.”

Hopkins, who had a blocked field goal returned for an Opp touchdown late in the first half, said he kew he had to get it through the uprights.

“It was a big moment,” Hopkins said. “I felt like I could make up after missing that first one (in the first quarter).”

In true rivalry fashion, the game was a back-and-forth contest. Opp went ahead 21-6 with 4:23 left in the third quarter on a 83-yard TD rush from Orlando Lacey, which seemed to help AHS get focused on the task at hand.

The Bulldogs then got a spurt from Kendarious Townsend with a big kick off return to put the ball in prime field position.

Andalusia freshman BJ Anderson had a 34-yard rush to set up senior Derrick Dorsey’s 5-yard TD to make it 21-14 with 1:56 left in the third.

After both teams gave each other fumbles early in the fourth quarter, the game stayed in the Bulldogs’ favor when Montgomery took the ball in from 3 yards with 2:25 left to tie the game at 21-21 with the PAT kick good by Hopkins.

On defense, Townsend, Austin Blue and Demetrius Lane got a piece of Lacey for two sacks, forcing Opp to punt it four plays later on the Bobcats next offensive possession.

This game was a big win for the Bulldogs, who have been searching for a boost since they won 33-15 at St. James in week three.

Seymore said from halftime to the end of the game, it went “full circle.”

“To go down right before half with a blocked kick and them returning it for a touchdown, I was really concerned about our kids,” he said. “I felt like I saw some of the same stuff I had been seeing the last couple of weeks. I just said let’s go out there and lay it on the line. We have nothing to lose. We had opportunity and opportunity. Both teams battled back and forth.”

To start overtime, Andalusia won the coin toss and elected to play defense first. Each team starts on the 10-yard line when on offense.

The Bobcats quickly put the ball in when junior running back Raheem Bonam scooted in from the 10 to take a 27-21 advantage. Unfortunately, OHS had an illegal procedure penalty called and its kicker, Dalton Tidwell, missed the extra point.

When AHS got the ball, Montgomery did the rest.

“He (Seymore) said it’s up to you,” Montgomery said. “He said if you want it, take advantage of it.”

Montgomery finished the day with 95 yards on the ground and three touchdowns to lead the Bulldogs.

The first half of play last night was a mirror image of last year’s game when Opp led 20-12.

The Bobcats bounced back after Montgomery’s opening kick-off return on its first possession of the second quarter.

Bobcats junior Ty White completed a 14-play drive with a 1-yard TD rush with 9:50 left in the first half. With the PAT, OHS led 7-6.

Earlier in the drive, Lacey, who led OHS with 145 yards on the ground and went 8-of-12 for some 85 yards in the air, connected with sophomore receiver Greg House for a 22-yard strike to convert on a big third-and-19 play.

Three possessions later for the Bulldogs, Hopkins set up a 42-yard field goal kick, but Opp’s DeWayne Bonam got his hand on it for the block, where Raheem Bonam returned the free ball for a 68-yard touchdown. White caught the 3-yard, 2-point conversion for the 15-6 advantage.

Having the game in their hands, the Bobcats were plagued with penalties.

OHS head football coach Brent Hill said despite everything, the defense did well and that the fault of the loss shouldn’t lie on one player’s shoulders.

“This one’s on me. Not on them,” Hill said. “Yeah, there were some plays we wish we had and this that and the other. This hurts.

“We better rip this scab off and let it bleed and then we better rebound,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of time to feel sorry for ourselves.”

The Bobcats turn around and face No. 2 T.R. Miller next week to start the second half of region play. AHS hosts Bullock County for homecoming.

“I’m proud of our guys in the way they fought to the end,” Seymore said. “I’m proud of the way they played with a lot of heart. This is for our players; our players and for the community. I’m proud for our seniors. They never lost against Opp.

“I told them we needed something to get a spark going,” he said. “Maybe this is what we needed.”