Road to state title starts here

Published 12:05 am Friday, September 2, 2016

Ethan Wilson scrambles around a Trinity defender.

Ethan Wilson scrambles around a Trinity defender.

The path to the playoffs begin in region play, and the No. 2-ranked Andalusia Bulldogs (2-0) begin their region journey with a road trip to Monroeville to take on Monroe County High School.

“They are going to be a very athletic team,” Andalusia head coach Trent Taylor said. “This year they have started 2-0, and I think they have averaged nearly 50 points a game. I’m sure they are feeling pretty good about themselves coming into this week, and they should be.”

This will be the first Class 4A, Region 1 game of the year for both teams.

“It’s huge,” Taylor said of the first region game. “You don’t want to fall behind early in region play. This is where you want to put yourself in the position to host a first round playoff game. The better seed you are it also helps you with the opponents you are going to face on into the playoffs.”

The athletic Monroe County squad will focus a lot on running the football, Taylor said.

“They are an I (formation) team,” Taylor said. “They want to pound it up the middle, and when they feel like they have lulled you they can throw it deep.”

Taylor said that this week at practice the Bulldogs focused more on themselves.

“We spent a lot of time on us this week,” Taylor said. “We were all disappointed with how the game went last week from an offensive standpoint. Obviously, we put up enough points to win, but intensity wasn’t there like the week before. The intensity was back this week at practice. Tuesday was the best practice we have had all fall.”

On the defensive side of the ball, Taylor said he expects the Bulldogs to continue to play with the intensity they have the first two weeks.

“Last week, it felt like the defense was on the field the entire game,” Taylor said. “That’s fine if we are scoring points that quickly, but we weren’t. It was an impressive performance by the defense to give up just 6 points and be on the field as much as they were. There is still room for improvement, but they have played very well the past two weeks.”

Taylor said it will be important for the Bulldogs to stay focused.

“Like I said, this week has been just a great week of practice,” Taylor said. “We even had a lot of intensity at Wednesday’s practice. This game, we just have to keep our focus, and I think we will. These kids are disappointed with last week and they are ready to get back out there.”

Andalusia and Monroe County kickoff tonight at 7 p.m., in Monroeville.