BEGINNING A NEW SEASON: Andalusia preps for battle with Montevallo

Published 12:05 am Friday, November 9, 2018

The Andalusia Bulldogs look to keep their season going as they prepare to take on the Montevallo Bulldogs tonight in Montevallo for the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs.

“They are a real talented team,” Andalusia head coach Trent Taylor said of Montevallo. “They’ve probably got one of the top receivers in the state (J.J. Evans). He has offers from Tennessee, Auburn, LSU and who knows who else. If those guys are offering him, they see something special. Heck I’m not one of those guys, but I can watch film and see something pretty special.”

Outside of Evans, Taylor said Montevallo has several other weapons on offense.

“The thing that makes them so dangerous is that’s not all they have,” Taylor said. “Certainly, he (Evans) is a home run hitter every time he has the ball in his hands. The quarterback does a good job getting the ball not only to him, but their pretty talented at the other three wide out spots. Their running back is explosive in his own right. They’re a team that kind of has a gamut of the whole thing. They are able to throw the ball and the quarterback is shifty and is capable of pulling the ball and running.”

Andalusia wrapped up the regular season two weeks ago and has spent that time preparing for the possibility of making it to the playoffs.

“You’ve got to understand these guys came to practice Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of last week really and truly not knowing if we would be taking up equipment on Monday,” Taylor said. “I was really impressed by the way we approached last week without knowing and then you find out late Friday night that we are in. This week Monday was a good day, Wednesday was really good and Tuesday was real physical day.”

Taylor said this season has been different than other Andalusia playoff teams.

“It’s a little bit different than maybe in years past,” Taylor said. “I think it’s different for kids and our team. It’s even different for our fans a little bit. The last two years you finished 9-1 and everybody is excited and thinking we are going to make it Tuscaloosa or Auburn. Now you are talking about a group of young men that, until Friday night at about 9:30 or 10 o’clock, didn’t even know if they were in.”

Coming into the playoffs, Taylor said the Bulldogs look to make the most of the opportunity.

“We’ve talked about not many times in life you get a second chance,” Taylor said. “For us as a football team, we’ve kind of see it as a second chance. The last two weeks of the regular season, our kids did exactly what they needed to do and that’s what I told them after the Clarke County game. Certainly we were excited and that was a big win for us against a good football team. I told them, ‘You’ve done everything that you can possibly do to this point and the rest of it is not in or hands.’ Regardless of how it turned out I was proud. After the Atmore (Escambia County) game, we were able to come in and say, ‘Hey, if you’re going to do anything, you’ve got to win’. We had two really good weeks of football practice and then played two good football games.”

The wins over the last two weeks of the season helped Andalusia build confidence.

“I think we have certainly grown at a confidence level because of that,” Taylor said. “Our kids feel real good about themselves. We watch too much film around here for us to ever be over confident. Our kids know exactly what Montevallo is capable of, they know who their playmakers are and they know what their strengths are. At the same time, I think they have done a good job getting themselves ready to play.”

On the defensive side, Taylor said Andalusia has to keep playing how they have been playing all year.

“From a defensive standpoint, it’s about being aware of what their schemes are and try to take away the three or four things they are best at,” Taylor said. “We’ve done that from a defensive standpoint and we’ve talked about things that we’ve got to do. Now it comes down to going out there Friday night and doing that.”

On offense, Taylor said Andalusia needs to continue to build on recent success.

“When you look at us, especially over the last two weeks, and I hate to keep using the word confident, but you can just tell our guys up front are getting more confident,” Taylor said. “The same is true for those guys in the backfield. They are growing more and more confident in their own abilities and the guys up front doing their job. It’s about us continuing to make sure we are improving. That’s what it’s all about. Making sure that everyday you are coming out you are getting better at whatever your craft is.”

Andalusia and Montevallo are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., tonight in Montevallo.