County thrives in playoffs

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 18, 2015


It’s has been another exciting playoff experiences in my second year covering the AHSAA football playoffs, last season I watched as Opp and Straughn defied all odds and made valiant runs deep into the third round, and this season I have watched Andalusia do the same.


Straughn and Opp both made it back to the playoffs this season, but both were unfortunately eliminated last week.


Opp came in to the season poised for another playoff run in their second season under the helm of Brent Hill. The Bobcats also got back dynamic dual-threat quarterback Orlando Lacey, who suffered a season-ending knee injury midway through last season.


Opp faced a familiar Gordo team in the second round of the Class 3A playoffs (Gordo knocked Opp out last season in the third round), and with the help of Lacey, the Bobcats looked for some revenge but came up short.


Outside of Straughn High School, I don’t think there were many people who gave the Tigers much of chance at making a playoff run, for the simple fact that Straughn lost several key starters from last season third-round team, including standout quarterback Rollin Kinsaul and speedy running back Darryl George, and also had a new head coach in Chris Wilson.


However, you can never count out the heart and tremendous effort that the kids wearing that black and gold always tend to play with. The Tigers were still learning the system and who they were as a team the first few weeks of the season and got off to a slow 1-4 start, but their first four loses came to teams who all made the playoffs and three of those teams made it to the second round.


After the slow start, the Tigers caught stride and reeled of three-straight wins to secure a spot in the playoffs.


The Tigers then stunned Bibb County in a first-round upset, but came up just shy of Munford in the second round.


Andalusia has been another big turnaround story, following a 5-5 season that saw them miss them playoffs in the 2014, the Bulldogs have won 11 games so far this season and will travel to Munford on Friday for the 4A quarterfinals.


Andalusia did a near-complete overhaul of the coaching staff in the offseason that has helped spark and electric atmosphere around the Bulldog football team.


Andalusia’s powerful offensive line has paved huge running lanes for junior workhorse Jamal Hourel.


With the help of his beast of an offensive line, Hourel has set the Andalusia single season rushing record with 2,253 yards through 12 games.


The Bulldogs have also had great play during the playoffs from sophomore quarterback Ethan Wilson. After rotating with senior Taylor Griffin in last seven games prior to the playoffs, Wilson has been the main signal caller for the Bulldogs during the playoff run.


Wilson continues to make good decisions running the Bulldog offense. He is making all the right reads on options, if he keeps the ball, he is probably going to pick up a chunk of yardage. He is deceptively fast and is more than capable of slinging the ball all over the field with accuracy.


Friday night the Bulldogs will make the three and half hour trek north with hopes of keeping their title dreams alive and well.


It’s been a great ride so far and I hope there are a few more Bulldog wins that culminate into a trip to Tuscaloosa.