BULLDOGS KEEP ROLLING: Andalusia advances to round 3 with big win

Published 12:05 am Saturday, November 17, 2018

The Andalusia Bulldogs (8-4) came away with a big 51-22 victory over the Headland Rams (10-2) on Friday night in Andalusia to advance to the third round of the Class 4A state playoffs.

Headland got the ball to start the game and picked up a first down on third-and-nine when Evan Armstrong caught a 20-yard pass.

Armstrong’s father (Wade), grandfather (Paul) and uncle (Joe) all played football at Andalusia.

A few plays later, Andalusia’s defense forced Headland to cough up the football and the Bulldogs recovered.

Elijah McClain and Caleb Blackston delivered the hit that jarred the ball loose and Drexter Lee scooped up the ball and ran into Headland territory.

Headland put Andalusia into a fourth-and-one situation and the Bulldogs elected to keep the offense on the field rather than try for the field goal.

The gamble paid off as Roosevelt Weaver found a lane and scampered 21 yards for the score.

Reese Burkhardt added the extra point to give Andalusia 7-0 lead with 7:04 left in the opening quarter.

Headland put together a decent drive on the following series, but Andalusia’s defense went into to bend don’t break mode as they forced a turnover on downs on the Andalusia 41-yard line.

The Bulldogs picked up a first down the second play of the next drive when Jake Wilson connected with Zymon Ray for a 13-yard pick up.

A few plays later, Caleb Smallwood picked up a first down with a strong run up the middle.

Wilson then found Bry Burnett on the next play for another Bulldog first down.

Headland’s Armstrong came up with a big play for the Rams on the next snap when he made a stop 6 yards in the Andalusia backfield.

Facing third-and-17, the Bulldogs kept the ball on the ground and Weaver darted through a gap for a 26-yard gain for another Andalusia first down.

On the next play, Smallwood found pay dirt on a 4-yard run.

The Bulldogs went up 14-0 following Burkhardt’s extra point.

Headland’s offense went back to work and put together another solid drive.

The Rams pushed the ball down the field and put themselves in a first-and-goal situation from the 9-yard line.

After picking up 5 yards on the next play, it appeared like Headland might break onto the scoreboard.

The Andalusia defense had different plans though as they got a 5-yard loss on a tackle from Derrick Wright and J.W. Jones.

Headland then went for it on fourth down and the Andalusia defense forced an incomplete pass.

After Headland forced the Bulldogs to punt following a three-and-out, the Bulldogs’ defense went right back to work.

Headland looked like that might score, but once again the Bulldog defense seemed to build a brick wall in front of the end zone.

The Rams tossed a pass towards the end zone, but Blackston came in and nearly intercepted the pass.

The ball bounced off of Blackston and into the waiting arms of McClain.

At halftime, Andalusia was on top 14-0.

Andalusia got the ball to start the second half, but was forced to punt after three plays.

The Bulldogs put the Rams on their heels when Kendall Sims came up with a big 11-yard sack to put Headland near the Andalusia goal line.

A few plays later, Headland attempted to throw a pass, but the quarterback tried to get rid of the ball and threw it out of the side of the end zone.

The referees met and called intentional grounding for a safety to give Andalusia a 16-0 lead.

On the first play following the safety kick, McClain juked and jived his way for a 39-yard touchdown.

Following the extra point, Andalusia was on top 23-0.

Headland cut into the score with a long scoring drive and then they picked up a fumble for a touchdown to bring the score to 23-14 with 5:32 left in the third.

Andalusia got a big run from McClain and then a big catch from Keaun Samuel to get them set up in the red zone.

A few plays later, Smallwood found the end zone on a 1-yard plunge.

Andalusia created another turnover on Headland’s next drive and Wilson went 17 yards on a quarterback keeper to extend the lead to 37-14 after the extra point from Burkhardt.

Headland scored on their next possession, but the Bulldogs came right back with a 70-yard touchdown run from McClain. Burkhardt’s extra point made it 44-22.

Andalusia capped off the scoring with just under four minutes left when Cameo Stoudemire scored on an 18-yard run.

“Was that not the longest second half of football that you have ever seen,” Andalusia head coach Trent Taylor said after the game. “My gosh, the third quarter lasted an hour and half.”

Taylor said he was pleased with the way his team played.

“What other accolades can you lay on these guys,” Taylor said. “The negative thing is I was really disappointed by our discipline. That falls back on me. I don’t care what the other team is doing or saying or whatever. If you are controlling the football game, you have to do that. We will address that here in just a few minutes and again on Monday. It’s just great to be practicing football on Thanksgiving.”

With the win, Andalusia will face Hillcrest-Evergreen next Friday in Evergreen.