Andalusia preps for top-5 battle with UMS-Wright

Published 12:05 am Thursday, September 8, 2016

Antonio Gurley drags a defender across the goal line.

Antonio Gurley drags a defender across the goal line.

There will be a huge Class 4A, Region 1 match up this week as the No. 2-ranked Andalusia Bulldogs (3-0) travel to Mobile on Friday and look to take down the No. 4-ranked UMS-Wright Bulldogs (2-1) for the first time in school history.

“It’s a region game and each one of those are huge in itself,” Andalusia head coach Trent Taylor said. “No one is a stranger to the traditions of UMS-Wright. I think the biggest thing coming is that we haven’t had any success against them in the past. I don’t mean very little success, I mean we haven’t had any. Getting over that stigma that comes with playing them is going to be the biggest factor.”

Taylor said that one thing that makes UMS-Wright a tough opponent is the coaching staff.

“They’re an extremely well coach team,” Taylor said. “These kids and coaches have been together for a long time. When they take the field, they are expecting to win. Our biggest thing is going to be getting over whatever stigma is attached to playing against them. Not just the football team, but the community as a whole. With that said, our kids have been extremely focused this week and are ready to play.”

Last week, Andalusia won their first region game of the season, and did so without star running back Jamal Hourel. Taylor said that Hourel, who has been a little hobbled with an ankle injury, would be a game-time decision on Friday night.

“Jamal is getting better each day,” Taylor said. “We are hoping to get him some carries on Friday night. He will be a game-time decision on Friday.”

If Hourel is unable to go on Friday, Taylor said that senior Zack Woods would fill in at running back.

“With Jamal a little hobbled still, we moved Zack Woods over to running back last week,” Taylor said. “Zack is a senior that is willing to do what he needs to do to help the team. He probably hasn’t played running back since his pee wee days, but he has done an outstanding job in the transition. He adds some different speed and toughness to the backfield.”

When Andalusia is on defense, Taylor said that they will have to be prepared to defend against the run and pass.

“They (UMS) are going to do what they do, and that is a power football team,” Taylor said. “Coach (Terry) Curtis likes to run the ball between the tackles, but they will spread the ball out also. They have a very good athlete at running back who has signed with Jacksonville State and a quarterback that is a LSU baseball commit. Their quarterback Tanner Allen has only played in one game this year, but we expect to see him on Friday night.”

Taylor said that the Andalusia players and coaches have been watching a lot of film to prepare for the game.

“We have been watching a lot of game film,” Taylor said. “Not just from this year, we have been watching the film from our game last year. We are both different teams, but you can bet that they will try some of the same things that gave them success against us last year.”

The play on special teams could be the difference in the game, Taylor said.

“A lot of times in games like this, you can go back and pin point one or two special teams plays that could make or break you,” Taylor said. “It’s going to be key for us to keep them from making big plays on special teams. Kiki Wain has done a great job so for kicking off and as our place kicker. He is a kid that is going to continue to get better with the more reps he gets.”

Andalusia and UMS-Wright will kick off Friday night at 7 p.m., in Mobile.