SUCH A HEARTBREAKER [with gallery]

Published 2:36 am Saturday, November 21, 2015

Jamal Hourel breaks off a nice run.

Jamal Hourel breaks off a nice run.

Bulldogs fall to Munford in quarterfinals

The Andalusia Bulldogs’ title hopes came to a bitter end Friday night in Munford when they fell to the Lions 33-31 in the third round of the AHSAA state playoffs.

Munford got the ball to start the game and drove straight down the field behind the passing attack of Avery Harris. The Bulldog defense allowed the Lions to move inside the 10-yard line before a big sack from Ridge Riley and Morris Calloway helped force a field goal try from Munford. The kick went wide of the mark and the Bulldogs took over at their own 20-yard line.

Andalusia opened up with a pass from Ethan Wilson to B.J. Anderson for about 6 yards, but a facemask penalty on Munford gave the Bulldogs a first down.

The Bulldogs picked up another first down on the next play when Wilson connected with Jaxon Rudolph for 12 yards. A few plays later Wilson found Anderson again, this time for a 24-yard gain and set the Bulldogs up with first-and-goal from the 7-yard line.

Munford’s defense held the Bulldogs for three plays, but Andalusia put 3 points on the board when Chase Hopkins drilled a 35-yard field goal to give the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead with 2:04 left in the first quarter.

Munford answered quickly with Harris capping off the 44-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.

The Lions then forced a turnover on downs from the Bulldog offense and then a 21-yard touchdown run from Munford’s Charles Smith put the Lions up 13-3 with nine minutes left in the second quarter.

On the second play of the Bulldogs’ next possession, Jamal Hourel broke loose for a 37-yard gain, and then James Montgomery picked up 12 yards to set the Bulldogs up inside the Lions’ 10-yard line. Hourel capped off the drive a few plays later with a 6-yard touchdown run. Hopkins added the extra-point that narrowed the gap for Andalusia, trailing 13-10 with 8:16 left until halftime.

Andalusia’s defense went to work on the next drive and forced a punt from the Lions with the help of the big tackle for a loss from KeShun Townsend.

Hourel then started the Bulldog drive with a masterful 58-yard pickup on the ground, and then Wilson hooked up with Anderson on a screen pass that Anderson took 12 yards for the score. Hopkins was good with the extra-point to give Andalusia a 17-13 lead with 5:31 left before halftime.

Munford began to drive the ball down the field on the next series, but a big hit from Roosevelt Weaver jarred the ball out of the hands of a Munford receiver and Weaver recovered the ball for the Bulldogs.

Andalusia started to move the ball well on the next drive, but a rash of penalties negated any progress the Bulldogs made and they were forced to punt.

Before the punt, Hourel took a hard hit from a helmet off the leg that forced the Andalusia workhorse out of the game.

Munford was then able to score a touchdown with just 12 seconds left in the first half to put the Lions up 20-17.

Punts were traded back-and-forth before Andalusia got a touchdown on a pass from Wilson to Anderson with 1:50 left in the third quarter. Wilson connected with Anderson again on a screen and this time Anderson went 15 yards for the score. Hopkins was once again good with the extra-point to give Andalusia a 24-20 lead.

The Lions responded on their following drive with a 10-play, 75-yard drive that Harris capped with an 8-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-goal. Andalusia got the Lions into fourth down with a big sack from Antonio Gurley, but the Harris touchdown gave Munford a 26-24 with nine minutes left in the game.

Munford got an interception on the Bulldogs’ ensuing drive and returned the ball all the way to Andalusia’s 2-yard line.

Andalusia held strong on the first three plays, but Harris just managed to push the ball over the goal line on fourth down to put Munford up 33-24 with five minutes remaining.

There was no quit, though, in the Bulldogs, who marched down the field behind the arm of Wilson. Wilson connected with Rudolph, Montgomery and Anderson during the 60-yard drive. Wilson capped off the drive with a 6-yard scramble to the end zone. Hopkins was again good with the extra-point, and Andalusia trailed 33-31 with 2:39 left in the game.

The Bulldogs attempted an onside kick, but Munford recovered the ball and a chance to run the clock out on the game.

Munford, however, fumbled the ball on the second play of the series and Andalusia hopped on the ball on the Lions’ 48-yard line.

Andalusia just couldn’t get anything going on the drive, and turned the ball over on downs after four plays to give Munford a 33-31 victory.

“It’s great to make it this far, but it’s never easy to lose,” Andalusia coach Trent Taylor said. “I’m so proud of these kids, especially these seniors. They came in and bought in to what we wanted to do and have done everything that has been asked of them.”

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Jamal Hourel breaks off a nice run.

Jamal Hourel breaks off a nice run.

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