CHASING DOWN THEIR DREAM: Andy Bulldogs ready for rematch with Hillcrest

Published 12:05 am Friday, November 23, 2018

The Andalusia Bulldogs are preparing for tonight’s rematch with the Hillcrest-Evergreen Jaguars in the quarterfinals of the Class 4A state playoffs in Evergreen.

“I’m sure if you interviewed Coach Smith he would have one take on it and obviously, I have another,” Andalusia head coach Trent Taylor said of going up against the Jaguars for the second time this year. “I’ve got to convince a group of young men that gave up 41 points the last time that we played that we are better than we were at that point. He has to sit there and convince a group of young men that we are better and they got some points late.”

Taylor said that they weren’t surprised to be in the situation with Hillcrest.

“I told the guys Clarke County week that if we handled business that this was the course that we were on,” Taylor said. “We figured we would have the opportunity to see Hillcrest in the third round and that has come to fruition. It wasn’t a surprise.”

The Bulldogs know they have a challenge in front of them, Taylor said.

“The kids have tremendous respect for Hillcrest,” Taylor said. “How can you not? They are the defending 3A state champions. We went over there week five and they pretty much man handled us.”

Despite the lopsided score, Taylor said there were good things that came from that week.

“You have to remember that was the first week that we really started transitioning what we were doing on offense,” Taylor said. “On defense, I thought we played pretty good. We gave up a long run late when the game was in hand. We felt like from a special teams point that we had an advantage and we went over there and laid an egg. We gave up a safety on special teams and gave up what led to their first touchdown on special teams and we gave up a long punt return. Hopefully, we can at least eliminate those things. If we do that, there is 16 points right there.”

Taylor said the Bulldogs aren’t treating this like a revenge game.

“Not one time has revenge or anything like that come out of players’ or coaches’ mouths,” Taylor said. “It’s not about that. We respect them and we are very proud of the steps that we’ve taken. Now it’s a situation to go and really see how far those strides have gone.”

Practice this week has been good, Taylor said.

“It’s been good,” Taylor said of practice. “Obviously, when you are practicing the week of Thanksgiving that’s great. One thing I don’t want to happen is for the kids to lose the excitement that this brings. The way the state playoffs are that week either falls in the quarterfinals or the semifinals so if you are practicing the week of Thanksgiving you know you are in the top eight in the state and some years even top four.”

Andalusia and Hillcrest-Evergreen are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., tonight in Evergreen.