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HEARTBREAKING DEFEAT: Late touchdown pushes UMS past Andalusia

The Andalusia Bulldogs put up a valiant effort, but fell 35-28 to UMS-Wright in the Class 4A South semifinal game in Andalusia on Friday night.

On the opening series of the game, UMS-Wright held Andalusia to a quick three-and-out.

A couple of penalties to start UMS-Wright’s first drive had them in second-and-20, but Will Chapman connected with Keyshawn Woodyard on 40-yard pass for a first down.

The Andalusia defense stiffened and forced UMS-Wright into fourth down.

UMS-Wright went for it, but Will Clark leveled Chapman in the backfield for big loss.

Josh Gurley darted for seven yards on the first play of Andalusia’s drive, and then Ethan Wilson scrambled for a big first down.

Andalusia looked to scored a long touchdown from B.J. Anderson, but a blindside block penalty brought the play back.

Facing a third-and-15 a few plays later, Wilson threw a bullet over the middle to Sebaskin Stallworth for an Andalusia first down.

A seven-yard run from Wilson then set Andalusia up at the UMS-Wright 3-yard line.

On the next play, Matthew Lilly pounded his way in to the end zone. Reese Burkhardt tacked on the extra point to put Andalusia on top 7-0 with 3:10 left in the opening period.

The two teams traded punts on the next two series.

UMS-Wright took over on their own 18-yard line, but Symon Smith fumbled on the first play of the drive and Lilly was there to fall on the ball for Andalusia.

Wasting little time, Wilson threw a jump ball up to Anderson, who went up between three UMS-Wright defenders and came down with the ball for a 20-yard touchdown.

Burkhardt’s extra point gave Andalusia a 14-0 lead with 10:53 left before halftime.

UMS-Wright got things started with a couple of rushes from Smith, and then a big catch from Woodyard set them up in Andalusia territory.

A few plays later, Chapman found a wide-open receiver in the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown to cut the Andalusia lead down 14-7 with 6:51 left in the second quarter.

Andalusia’s next drive started with two-straight negative plays, but then Wilson threw a strike to Anderson for a 14-yard pickup and an Andalusia first down.

Two plays later, Anderson made another big catch for an Andalusia first down.

The big catches continued to come in as Grant Holley made a diving grab at the UMS-Wright seven-yard line.

On the next play, Wilson dumped it R.J. Drish in the end zone to put Andalusia up 21-7 with 2:28 left before the half.

Andalusia got UMS-Wright into a third-and-long situation, but then a big pass from Chapman set UMS-Wright up in Andalusia territory with around 30 seconds left on the clock.

On the next play, Chapman found an open receiver for a 20-yard touchdown to trim Andalusia’s lead down to 21-14 going into halftime.

Opening up the second half, UMS-Wright started moving the ball down the field, but then a bone-jarring hit from Undre Johnson knocked the ball loose.

UMS-Wright was able to retain possession, but was forced to punt the ball away a few plays later.

Andalusia took over on their own two-yard line following a strong punt from UMS-Wright.

Andalusia got a couple of big runs from Gurley and Wilson as they quickly moved the ball past midfield.

The drive ended a few plays later when Wilson had the ball torn loose in the backfield and UMS-Wright was able to return the ball all the way down to the Andalusia 17-yard line.

Andalusia had a chance to come up with a fourth down stop, but UMS-Wright was able to convert.

On the next play, Smith went four yards for the UMS-Wright score to tie the game 21-21.

Things went from bad to worse on the next drive when Andalusia was forced to punt.

UMS-Wright brought pressure and blocked the punt and returned it the Andalusia 1-yard line.

Chapman scored on a plunge up the middle to give UMS-Wright their first lead of the game.

The extra point was good to put UMS-Wright up 28-21 with 10:51 left in the game.

Gurley got things started with a five-yard gain to get the Andalusia drive going and then Wilson reeled off a 10-yard gain for an Andalusia first down.

On second and long, Wilson hit B.J. Anderson for a 20-yard gain and an Andalusia first down.

A few plays later, Wilson lobbed up another jump ball to Anderson, who came up away with the ball after out jumping a pair of UMS-Wright defenders on the one-yard line.

Lilly punched in his second touchdown of the game and Burkhardt tacked on the extra point to tie the game 28-28 with 6:27 left in the game.

UMS-Wright began to drive the ball into the Andalusia territory, but then a pair of sacks by Lilly forced UMS-Wright to attempt a 39-yard field goal.

The kick had plenty of leg, but sailed wide left.

Andalusia took over with 3:30 left in the game, but was forced to punt after just three plays.

J.W. Jones came up with a big sack on first down and then the Andalusia defense forced an incomplete pass from Chapman.

On the next play, however, a breakdown in the Andalusia coverage allowed Richard Brinson to find himself all alone in the middle of the field and Chapman hit with a strike.

Andalusia pulled Brinson down on the five-yard line, but two plays later Chapman found the end zone from one-yard out to put UMS-Wright up 35-28 with 14 seconds left on the clock.

Andalusia attempted a few desperation plays, but as on the short end of 35-28 loss when the clock struck zero.

“Our kids played really hard tonight,” Andalusia head coach Trent Taylor said. “The guys knew what they needed to do and they did a tremendous job, but we just had few things here and there that didn’t go our way. I really hate it for these kids, especially the seniors, because they have put so much hard work into this season. Give UMS credit. They made the plays when they needed too. We did too, but there on that series after the missed field goal we just weren’t able to convert on third down.”