‘Noisy’ Handley fans raised funds to travel here

Published 2:13 am Thursday, November 24, 2016

Andalusia Bulldog fans who are relieved to be playing at home this week should feel a bit of pity for their Friday night opponent, Handley.

This is the team’s third consecutive week to travel. After making the trip to UMS-Wright, the team was in Thomasville last week.

“They were basically out of money,” Randolph Leader sports editor Tim Altork said Tuesday. They put out an “all-call” to alumni and friends, and in about three days, they raised $15,000, he said.

The Tigers travel well, Altork said.

“Oh, yea. There will be a crowd,” Altork said. “Somebody was actually saying this morning that Thomasville folks were actually complaining about how loud Handley folks were there last week.”

Altork said the Roanoke community will charter three buses to bring the team, cheerleaders and band to Andalusia.

The Tigers won the 3A championship in 2011, but this is their first time to make it to a 4A semi-final.

“Aside from 2011, they’ve never won in the semi-finals,” he said.

“Handley lost two of their first three games, like Auburn,” Randolph Leader publisher John Stevenson said. “Then they haven’t lost again.”

As a person who follows sports, Altork said he’s looking forward to a good matchup Friday night.

“I think these are the toughest two teams in the south region,” he said. “There may be some teams that managed to squeak in, but these two teams could make a good claim for being among the best in the state.”

Handley enters the game 11-2. Last week, they beat Thomasville, 36-18, to advance. Earlier in the season, the Bulldogs shut out Thomasville, 37-0.

Altork wrote in his column this week, “If Handley defeats Andalusia it will have played and beaten the top three teams out of region 1, which is widely regarded as the best region in the state in class 4A. And they will have defeated all three of those teams on the road. And these aren’t just puddle jumper trips that Handley is making. Each trip is at least four hours on a bus to the extreme southern end of the state. This week’s trip is easily the shortest of the three and it’s still right at 200 miles.”

Altork went on to say that Andalusia is the “shortest trip, but the toughest team” Handley has faced.

Game time is 7 p.m. this Fri., Nov. 25. Tickets are $10, and advance tickets are at Andalusia High School Friday morning.