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BACK UNDER THE FRIDAY LIGHTS: Bulldogs ready to battle Shades Valley in opener

The Andalusia Bulldogs kick off the 2017 high school football season tonight with a home a game against Class 6A Shades Valley.

“At this point, you really don’t know what to expect coming into the game,” Bulldog head coach Trent Taylor said. “I think every team in the state is probably like that. That’s why it’s good to play a team like Shades Valley to start the season. We will learn a lot about ourselves like we did last year playing Brooks. Win or lose, this game won’t be an indication of where we may be come week five or 10.”

Taylor said that Shades Valley won’t be a pushover.

“They aren’t going to be a slouch,” Taylor said. “They are big up front on both sides of the ball and they are athletic. They have a quarterback that can hurt you with his legs or his arm. Offensively, they are a lot like us.”

On offense for Andalusia, Taylor said the Bulldogs will work with a limited play set.

“We’ve got about four run plays and about the same number of passing plays that we will run,” Taylor said. “Honestly, we don’t have many more than that on a regular basis, but we will be a little more generic in this game.”

Taylor said that he is looking for a strong effort from his players.

“We have similar goals to all the teams in the state, at this point, and one of those is to go undefeated,” Taylor said. “That starts here, but the biggest thing I want to see is for them to just play hard. We’ve got kids that will be making their first every varsity start. I want to see them get out there and overcome those jitters. On defense, we need to be flying around making plays, and make sound plays on offense.”

Taylor said that the Bulldogs will need every player contributing in the season opener.

“This is going to come down to not just how well the starters play, but how the younger guys play as well,” Taylor said. “Playing in Aug., in this part of the country, is a different monster and it will test your depth.”

The Bulldogs enter the 2017 season as the No. 2-ranked team in Class 4A.

Andalusia and Shades Valley kickoff tonight at 7.