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BULLDOGS KEEP MARCHING: Andalusia holds off Hillcrest for trip to semifinals

The Andalusia Bulldogs held off the Hillcrest-Evergeen Jaguars in the final seconds to pick up a 28-21 win in the Class 4A quarterfinals on Friday night in Evergreen.

Hillcrest got the ball to start the game and quickly picked up a first down on the second play of the game.

Andalusia’s defense then came up with a big stop on third down to force a punt from the Jaguars. Josh Gurley had a big hit on the third down to help force the punt.

Andalusia got the ball and picked up a first down on the second play with a pass from Jake Wilson to Keaun Samuel.

A few plays later, Wilson connected with J.W. Jones for another first down.

Big runs from Wilson and Roosevelt Weaver had the Bulldogs deep in Hillcrest territory, but Andalusia was forced to attempt a field goal.

The long field goal attempt went left and Hillcrest took over at their own 20-yard line.

Andalusia stopped Hillcrest on third-and-long on the next drive, but the Jaguars then picked up a first down on a fake punt.

Andalusia stopped the Jaguars on third down again, but then committed a penalty on the ensuing field goal attempt to give Hillcrest a new set of downs.

One play later, Hillcrest scored and went up 7-0 with 11:49 left before halftime.

Andalusia wasted little time tying the game up on the following drive.

Weaver picked up close to 30 yards on the first play and then Elijah McClain raced 42 yards to the end zone.

Reese Burkhardt hit the extra point to tie the game 7-7 with 11:22 left in the second quarter.

The Bulldogs forced a punt from Hillcrest on the next drive, but a muffed punt allowed the Jaguars to regain possession deep in Andalusia territory.

The Jaguars needed just two plays to get in the end zone and got up 14-7 with just under nine minutes left in the second quarter.

Andalusia responded with a strong drive and got ino the end zone on a 1-yard run from Gurley.

Burkhardt’s kick tied the game 14-14 with 5:25 left before halftime.

The Bulldogs then came up with a big stop when Gill Morgan picked off a pass at the Hillcrest 25-yard line.

Andalusia had a chance to go up before halftime, but after a couple of negative plays, the Bulldogs were forced to punt.

Both teams traded punts before going into halftime with the score tied, 14-14.

After punting to start the third quarter, the Andalusia defense came up with another big stop when Caleb Blackston went up for an interception.

However, the Bulldogs turned the ball a few plays later on a fumble.

Hillcrest got the ball back, but the Bulldog defense once again came up with a big stop and forced a punt.

On the second play from scrimmage on the following drive, Wilson found Zymon Ray along the sideline and Ray picked up 82 yards before being brought down at the 1-yard line.

Weaver then plunged in from 1-yard out and Burkhardt tacked on the extra point to give the Bulldogs a 21-14 lead with 3:41 left in the third quarter.

Andalusia’s defense followed with another strong stop and forced a punt from the Jaguars.

The Jaguar punter mishandled the snap and the Bulldogs came up with stop deep in Hillcrest territory.

Hillcrest got the Bulldogs into fourth down, but the Jaguars were drawn offside by a hard count from Weaver, and Andalusia picked up a first down at the Hillcrest 8-yard line.

McClain then found pay dirt with an 8-yard run into the end zone.

Burkhardt split the uprights to put the Bulldogs up 28-14 with 38 seconds left in the third quarter.

Hillcrest picked up a first down the first play of the drive and the Chip Morgan came up with a big sack on the next play.

The Jaguars bounced back and were able to drive down the field for a touchdown.

Following the extra points, Andalusia was up 28-21 with 10:59 left in the game.

On the second play of the next drive, Wilson managed to avoid a sack before finding Ray on a 20-yard pick up to move the sticks for the Bulldogs.

Hillcrest then put the Bulldogs in a fourth-and-two situation in Hillcrest territory.

Andalusia attempted a fake punt, but the pass from Wilson to Weaver fell just shy and the Bulldogs turned the ball over on downs.

Hillcrest got the ball back and started to move the ball down the field.

The Jaguars converted on fourth down and then pushed the ball into the red zone.

Hillcrest got the ball down to the 3-yard line and looked like they might tie the game with just a few minutes remaining.

Hillcrest’s running back took the hand off and was met with force at the goal line by the Bulldogs.

The ball popped out and the Bulldogs came away with the ball.

Andalusia took over on their own 2-yard line and just ran three plays up the middle of the field before being forced to punt the ball with 1:47 left to play.

The Jaguars quickly began to move the ball down the field.

On second-and-1, Kendall Sims came up with a big sack and forced Hillcrest to use their last time out with 17 seconds left on the clock.

McClain then broke up the ball on third down with 11 ticks left on the clock.

The Jaguars tried one last throw to the end zone, but Weaver was there to bat the ball to ground and give the Bulldogs a 28-21 victory.

“It was a great job by the defense,” Andalusia head coach Trent Taylor said. “That’s two really good football teams right there. Hats off to them. I’m just so proud of our kids. What kind of cliche do you want me to say right now? Who would have thunk it? I mean 41-10 six weeks ago and hey, we’re in the semifinals again.”

Andalusia will travel to Mobile next Friday to take on UMS-Wright to see who will represent the South in the Class 4A state championship.

Andalusia fell 17-0 to UMS-Wright in the third game of the season.

“We can go to Canada next week as long as we are playing,” Taylor said of matching up with UMS-Wright in the semifinals.

This is Andalusia’s third-straight trip to state semifinal round.