Bulldogs win to advance

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 27, 2019

The Andalusia High School varsity soccer team shut out the Faith Academy High School Rams, 3-1, to earn their spot in the second round of the AHSAA State Playoffs.

The Bulldogs started off strong when Gage Theus took a hard shot two minutes into the game at the top of the 18-yard box. The ball went in between the Ram’s goalkeeper’s legs to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead.

A couple of minutes later, the Bulldogs almost had another goal when the Ram’s goalkeeper tried to kick the ball and missed, leaving an open goal, but a Ram’s defender cleared the ball out.

With 20 minutes left in the first half, the Bulldogs had another scoring opportunity. Reese Burkhardt passed the ball to the winger, Dawson Kennedy, who gave it right back to Burkhardt for a shot at the top of the box, but the ball went over the goal.

Six minutes later, Kennedy was fouled outside the Rams’ 18-yard box. The Bulldogs capitalized on the free kick when Theus crossed it to the center and Burkardt back heeled it into the net to increase the lead 2-0.

Faith Academy made a push towards Andalusia’s side of the field and headed the ball towards the bottom corner of the net, but goalkeeper Franklin Osario made a leaping save.

The Bulldogs had two more scoring opportunities at the end of the half from Coleman Thompson and Burkardt, but both went to the side of the goal.

At the beginning of the second half, the Bulldogs started strong immediately. Kennedy received the ball from a throw in and sent a blistering shot straight to the Rams’ goalkeeper.

The Rams received their first corner kick of the game in the beginning of the second half, but Osario was there with a clean catch.

Faith Academy made another offensive push, shooting towards the Andalusia goal twice in a two-minute span, but both opportunities went over the goal.

With 15 minutes left in the game, things started to get a little tense between the two teams.

After a cross to the center of the Rams’ box, Logan Adams in front of a wide open goal and ran the ball in the goal, but the Rams’ goalkeeper started a skirmish with Adams.

The goal was called back because Adams was offside, but that didn’t stop the Bulldogs from making another attack not even a minute later. James Posey cut off the offside free kick and took a shot at the top of the Rams’ 18 yard box. The shot was blocked, but Kennedy followed it up and put it in the back of the net to make it 3-0.

“I feel like our kids never quit tonight,” Head coach Ray Bozeman said. “They fought hard the whole game. They did come out a little flat to start the second half, but they rallied and really battled back. They played hard, kept their composure and they understood the importance of the game.”

Bozeman said they are going to focus on themselves going into the second round of the playoffs.

“We have got to really focus on us for the next couple of days,” Bozeman said. “No matter who our opponent is, I tell them all the time, you have to focus on being the best Andalusia you can be. If we are on the top of our game, it doesn’t matter who we are playing. We will take care of business.”

With the win, Andalusia improves to 12-2-1 and will face UMS-Wright in the second round of playoffs in Andalusia, Tue., April 30, at 7 p.m.