Published 12:46 am Saturday, October 25, 2014

1025 spt-andy straughn

Straughn’s Jarvaris Samuel runs the ball as Andalusia’s Trevor Parker attempts to stop him. Samuel scored the game-winning touchdown for the Tigers. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Straughn defeats Andy for 1st time since 2008

Straughn junior Jarvaris Samuel had a lot put on his shoulders on Friday night.

The Tigers’ running back scored a touchdown almost midway through the fourth quarter and punched another in from 2 yards in overtime to help lead Straughn to a 34-28 region victory over rival Andalusia.

Samuel said the kudos go to the rest of the team.

“I have to give credit to all of the teammates, the offensive line and just the defense stepping up,” Samuel said. “Special teams stepped up and got us to overtime.”

In Andalusia’s last possession of regulation, the Bulldogs were lined up at the Straughn 15, but Tigers’ head football coach Trent Taylor called two consecutive timeouts to ice Bulldogs kicker Chase Hopkins with less than 20 seconds to go in regulation.

On the third try, Hopkins slipped and got a piece of the ball, but time ran out to force the game into extras.

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, senior quarterback Brayden Burkhardt — who had a stellar game passing — went down with another ankle injury and had to sit out the OT period, where back up Taylor Griffin filled in.

During the overtime period, Griffin helped get the ball to the Straughn 6-yard line, but a delay-of-game penalty put the ball back at the 11, where Hopkins was going to try for a 28-yard field goal.

Lining up in the trench were Straughn’s Gage Worley and Jacob Hawkins, who both got a sliver of the block that would effectively save the game for the Tigers.

“I had my whole hand on the ball,” Worley said. “They were combo-ing me in the middle. I just flipped and did a bear claw. I jumped as high as I could.”

When asked how high he can jump, Worley gave chuckled, “I’m a white boy.”

For Straughn’s overtime appearance, Tigers senior quarterback Rollin Kinsaul rushed 5 yards from the 10 — where the OT offensive possession begins — and then a false start call on AHS put the ball at the 2, where Samuel took over, running to his right through a well-placed hole from the offensive line.

“Give Andalusia a lot of credit,” Taylor said. “They played their hearts out. There’s no doubt about it. The thing that’s unfortunate for them now is that they may have been the first or second best team in the region. They played hard. The coaches did a good job of getting them ready to play.”

Because SHS beat AHS, and Trinity topped St. James last night, the Tigers earned a first-round home berth in the Class 4A state playoffs in two weeks. The Bulldogs ended their season.

Andalusia, even though trailing 14-0 in the first quarter, played like it could beat the Tigers.

However, SHS made a few more plays than the Bulldogs did, AHS head football coach Brian Seymore said.

“I was proud of our kids,” Seymore said. “They played hard. You’ve got to give credit to coach Taylor and his players. They made a few more plays than we did down the stretch. I hate it for our seniors. Trinity upset St. James, and we’re done. That’s the end of our season. That’s unfortunate. I wish Straughn the best of luck in the playoffs.”

Before Burkhardt went down with an ankle injury in the fourth quarter, the senior was lights out in the passing game. He went 15-of-18 for 202 yards and a touchdown.

Kinsaul, who is best friends with the Andalusia QB, said Burkhardt “outplayed” him.

“Props to Brayden,” Kinsaul said. “He played better than me. He deserves everything in the world with the type of guy he is. I’m glad we came out on top — not me — we came out on top.”

In the first quarter, Kinsaul threw a 42-yard pass to Marshall Farley and a 38-yarder to Brice Scott for an early 14-0 lead.

The Bulldogs bounced back and cut the lead in half when Burkhardt, who also was responsible for all of Andalusia’s touchdowns, rushed in from 9 yards out with 1:16 left in the first quarter.

On Straughn’s next offensive series, the Bulldogs held their rivals to a three-and-out, forcing the Tigers to punt.

AHS then took the ball 48 yards on a 10-play drive that was eclipsed by Burkhardt’s 7-yard TD run with 6:42 left in the first half.

After halftime, both teams traded scores when Straughn’s Daryl George scored on a 2-yard rush and Burkhardt completed a 29-yard pass to freshman phenom BJ Anderson. AHS missed its extra point and trailed 21-20 with 9:20 left in the third period.

Throughout the season, Kinsaul said the Tigers have battled adversity and added that each player had “confidence.”

“What I love about this team is that we battle adversity better than any other team I’ve ever seen,” he said. “Andalusia went up seven points right there, and there were just positive words said. We never lost confidence in ourselves to win that game. To win that was pretty special.”

The Bulldogs took a 28-21 lead with 11:34 left in the game on a 1-yard TD rush from Burkhardt. Burkhardt then connected with Anderson for the 2-point conversion.

SHS then ran a 70-yard, 10-play drive that was end capped by Samuel’s 2-yard rush with 8:17 left to tie the game at 28-all.

There were a lot of big plays performed by both teams last night, including big catches by Anderson and Scott, along with long runs from George and Samuel.

“What a game,” Kinsaul said. “That was fun.”

When asked what it meant to him to beat Andalusia for the first time since 2008, Kinsaul said a big aspect that helped was the community involvement.

“It was so crazy all week,” he sad. “The atmosphere in the school and community was great. Probably the greatest I’ve ever seen it. We wanted it really bad.”

Later next week, the Tigers will get back to business to get ready for the first round of the playoffs.

Samuel said the win means a lot, but “we can’t be satisfied.”

“We’ve got to strive for the best and make it all the way this time,” Samuel said.

Kinsaul went 12-of-16 for some 165 yards and two touchdowns for the Tigers. George rushed for 118 yards on 14 carries and scored a touchdown.

AHS finished its season 5-5.

Seymore said the players battled hard after a slow start to the year.

“We got in a 1-4 hole,” the coach said. “They fought to the end. I think we really deserved a playoff spot. It didn’t work out with the way the tiebreaker rule works out. It’s hard to process it all. I thought we played good enough to win.

“They’re special kids,” he said. “I love them. I know their hearts are hurting. I’m hurting for them.”