Bulldogs prepare for Champions Challenge

Published 12:05 am Friday, August 19, 2016

Ethan Wilson makes a throw during practice on Thursday afternoon. Josh Dutton/Star-News

Ethan Wilson makes a throw during practice on Thursday afternoon.
Josh Dutton/Star-News

Game plans are in place and the cleats are ready to be laced up as the Andalusia Bulldogs travel to Montgomery on Saturday to take on Brooks High School in the AHSAA’s “Champions Challenge” to kick off the 2016 football season.

“We are ready to play,” Andalusia head coach Taylor said. “We still have a few things to iron out, but maybe we can get through the first one and move on from there.”

The “Champions Challenge” game between Andalusia and Brooks is being played at Cramton Bowl in Montgomery.

Kickoff between the Lions and the Bulldogs is at 7 p.m., Saturday.

“It hasn’t been the best week of practice,” Taylor said. “There have been a lot of peaks and valleys. One day we look good on offense and the defense is off, the next day the defense will have a good day and the offense is off. That’s a bit concerning at this point. We can’t seem to be real consistent.”

The Lions moved up to Class 5A this season after making it to the third round of the state playoffs in Class 4A.

Brooks has the ability to run and pass the ball on offense, Taylor said. They will rely on senior running back Deondre Hampton and senior do-it-all Kolton Medley.

“They have some big guys up front on both sides of the ball,” Taylor said. “They aren’t just 300 pounders, but they are also athletic and can move.”

The Bulldogs had to fill in holes on the offensive line, but Taylor said he has been pleased with their efforts in fall camp.

Andalusia returns first team All-State running back Jamal Hourel. Hourel led the state (1A-7A) with 2,396 yards and 35 touchdowns.

Teams will likely focus heavily on Hourel, but Taylor said the Bulldogs have weapons for that.

Particularly, junior quarterback Ethan Wilson will have several receivers that are long, tall and fast.

“Although this game counts, we want to see what things we have to do,” Taylor said. “Win or lose, we know there is going to be some mistakes made, and we got to see what those things are that we have to work on. Biggest thing I’m looking for is effort. How they are we are going to play when the lights are on.”