BULLDOGS MAKING NOISE: Andy pushes past St. Paul’s for spot in Final Four (with gallery)

Published 4:08 pm Monday, May 8, 2017

The Andalusia Bulldog soccer team secured a spot in the AHSAA Class 4A/5A state semi-finals match after knocking off Class 5A St. Paul’s 4-3 in Saturday’s Elite Eight match in Mobile.

Starting the match, the Saints quickly made a push down the pitch, but a save from Franklin Osario kept the game scoreless.

The Saints continued to pressure the Bulldog defense and broke through with the first goal just ahead of the 36-minute mark.

St. Paul’s got the ball quickly and put in another goal to give them a 2-0 lead less than five minutes into the contest.

The Bulldogs were finally able to break through the Saints’ defense and make a push to the goal.

Wain Yongkuma was then tripped up just outside of the penalty box to give the Bulldogs a direct kick.

St. Paul’s players made a wall between Yongkuma and the goal, but Yongkuma’s direct kick blistered its way past the Saint defender and into the bottom left corner of the net for the Bulldogs’ first goal of the match.

The Bulldogs seemed to settle into the match and began making strong pushes to the Saints’ goal.

Adam Peek narrowly missed tying the game when he sent a rocket at the Saints’ goalkeeper off a corner kick, but the keep was just able to get his hands on it for the save.

Down the other end of the pitch, Bulldog goalie Osario played like a wall as he batted down multiple Saint shot attempts.

After one of the saves, Osario booted the ball deep down the field to Yongkuma, who stayed behind the Saint defender until the ball arrived.

Yongkuma then sprinted down the pitch and looked like he might get off a shot, but was tackled just outside of the penalty box.

The Saints’ players once again formed a wall between Yongkuma and the goal on the direct kick, and once again Yongkuma delivered a scorching shot that buried into the top left shelf to tie the game with six minutes left until halftime.

Starting off the second half, the Saints pushed the ball down the pitch, but another save from Osario kept the game tied.

The Bulldogs began passing their way down the pitch until Kiki Wain found himself in a 2-on-1 situation just outside of the box.

Wain made a juke and stutter step that gave him just enough space to fire the ball between the two St. Paul’s defenders.

The shot split the defenders perfectly and came out so quickly that the Saint goalie barely broke to the ball before it struck the back of the net for a 3-2 Andalusia lead with 36 minutes left to play.

St. Paul’s caught a little fire and started applying heavy pressure on the Bulldog defenders.

Osario made four big saves, but St. Paul’s was able to tie the game 3-3 with 16:11 left in the match.

The Saints made a couple more strong shots on the goal, but Osario continued to block them to keep the game tied with five minutes left to play in regulation.

Andalusia turned up the pressure and pushed the ball down the pitch.

The Saints managed to get the ball away from the Bulldogs down near the St. Paul goal, but kicked it out to set up a Bulldog throw in near the corner.

Peek sent a high arching throw in front of the goal and up came a soaring Yongkuma who sent a header into the back of the net to give the Bulldogs a 4-3 lead with 4:04 left in the match.

St. Paul’s, playing in desperation, got off one more clean shot, but a save from Osario gave the Bulldogs a 4-3 victory.

“That’s just to MO for this team,” Bulldog head coach Jarrett Williamson said about how the Bulldogs never gave up after falling behind early. “They have proven that all year. We have prayed a lot with this team, and I really believe that God is blessing this team. These kids are doing everything to glorify him. I’m so proud of this team, and we are very blessed that we can continue to play.”

With the win, the Bulldogs move on to the Final Four tournament in Huntsville beginning on Thursday.

Andalusia will face Briarwood Christian at 5:30 p.m., at John Hunt Park.

Wain Yongkuma takes a shot.

Wain Yongkuma makes a play in the box.

Reese Burkhardt drives up the sideline.

Logan Adams pushes up the pitch.

Kiki Wain chases down a loose ball.

Kiki Wain sends a rocket into the net to put the Bulldogs up 3-2 in the second half.

Jaden Brown looks to pass.

Ethan Barton clears the ball with a power kick down the pitch.

Logan Adams header attempt just missed early in the game.

Adam Peek throws the ball into play. Peek would go on to pick up the winning assist on throw in late in the second half.