ANDY READY FOR FOOTBALL: Bulldogs open season against Saraland Spartans

Published 12:05 am Friday, August 23, 2019

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The Andalusia Bulldogs kick off the season tonight as they host the Saraland Spartans in the newly renovated Andalusia Municipal Stadium.

Saraland enters the season ranked No. 2 in Class 6A and Andalusia is ranked No. 3 in Class 4A.

“You can do so much in the summer that by the time you get to this point you have really covered a lot of stuff,” Andalusia head coach Trent Taylor said. “There are still so many things that I don’t think you can ever be as prepared for as any coach wants to be. Obviously, you are going to be better in week three than you are in week one and you are going to better in week six than week three.”

Taylor said that kids know that Saraland is going to be a tough opponent.

“Saraland doesn’t do a whole lot different than anybody else,” Taylor said. “They just do it with some really really good players. My concern is what we look like as far as effort. If a guy is faster or a guy is stronger than that’s one thing, but let’s eliminate the mental mistakes as much as we possibly can. Now, are we going to make some mental mistakes tomorrow night? Shoot yea we are. There is no doubt about it. Every team that plays tonight or tomorrow night is going to make some.”

It’s hard to get a handle on what a team is going to do when you don’t see them much, Taylor said.

“When you play a team week one and you play a team that you don’t see but once a year,” Taylor said. “In our case, you’ve only seen them once in a career. It’s not like you have films from four or five games from last year and you are not that familiar with each other and those kinds of things. With that said, what a great opportunity this is to play an opponent like this week one. It doesn’t get any better. It’s one of those things that you have got to embrace. Here is Saraland coming off a trip to the state championship game and they have a lot of guys returning. You know where they are going to be. You know what their battle cry has been the entire offseason and that is to get back to Jordan-Hare, play for another state championship and win it. You know what you are getting tomorrow night and our guys are fully aware of that.”

There are still areas that Taylor said the Bulldogs have to improve.

“I am concerned in some areas as far as the kicking game goes,” Taylor said. “Not in our kickers because we are in really good shape there. Those are things that you can’t do live. You can do all kinds of drills and things like that to try and simulate that, but the truth of the matter is until you kick it off or punt it for the first time, you don’t what mistakes are going to be made.”

Taylor said the team has been working hard at practice to prepare for the season.

“The intensity at practice has been good,” Taylor said. “We’ve been pretty lucky as far as the heat is concerned, but the rain has made us stop a few times and come inside. That puts you behind in things, whether it be in the kicking or passing game.”

Saraland finished last year 13-2 and lost to Pinson Valley in the 6A state championship game.

Saraland returns All-State quarterback Brett Nezat and All-State running back Rashawn McAlpine.

The Spartans beat Andalusia 41-3 in the first week of the season last year.

Andalusia finished last year 9-5 and lost to UMS-Wright in the fourth round of the 4A playoffs.

Andalusia and Saraland are scheduled for a 7 p.m., kickoff tonight at Andalusia Municipal Stadium.