DAWGS FALL IN OPENER: Saraland pushes past Andalusia

Published 12:05 am Saturday, August 24, 2019

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The Andalusia Bulldogs put up a strong fight, but fell to the Saraland Spartans 42-20 on Friday night in Andalusia.

Andalusia opened up the game with a touchback off the leg of Reese Burkhardt.

The Bulldog defense came up big and sack from Caleb Smallwood forced Saraland to punt after three plays.

Elijah McClain reeled off a big run and then a run from Jake Wilson put the Bulldogs in business.

Cam Morrissette then picked up a bruising 24-yard run to put the Bulldogs on the 1-yard line.

Smallwood pounded it in from there to put the Bulldogs on top 6-0.

Burkhardt sent the kickoff into the end zone for another touchback.

The Bulldog defense came up big again and forced another punt from Saraland.

However, Saraland picked up the pass on the next play and set up shop inside the Bulldog 15-yard line.

The Spartans needed just three plays to score from there and with the extra point they led 7-6 with 4:28 left in the first period.

Andalusia drove down the field on the following drive, but the drive stalled in Saraland territory.

Burkhardt attempted a 48-yard field goal, but the ball just missed left.

Saraland then took the ball down the field and scored to go up 14-6.

Defenses for both teams weren’t willing to give much ground and the score was 14-6 at halftime.

Andalusia went three-and-out to start the third quarter and then two plays later Saraland scored to go up 21-6.

A few plays later, the Saraland defense returned an interception for a touchdown to take a 28-6 lead with 8:43 left in the third quarter.

Saraland tacked on another score few minutes later to go up 35-6.

The Bulldogs weren’t going to give up as Wilson connected with Zymon Ray for a 55-yard touchdown. Burkhardt’s extra point made the score 35-13.

Saraland answered back with a long touchdown to go up 42-13 with 1:40 left.

Saraland looked like they might add another score, but Chance Russell tipped the ball in the end zone and Josh Gurley was there to make the interception.

Starting from their own 3-yard line, the Bulldogs were able to drive the ball 97 yards for a score.

Joseph Turner and Mike Hourel Jr., carved up the Spartans’ defense and then Ayden Amis capped off the drive with a 12-yard score.

“What a difference a year makes, first of all,” Andalusia head coach Trent Taylor said. “We gave them a short field in the first half, and that’s the difference as far as the first half is concerned. You play a school that size and obviously depth is going to come into play and it did. We had a mistake on kickoff return and started deep in our own territory. You can run and you can condition, but when you have conditions like we had tonight with the humidity like it was. Our guys are in great shape, but when you are playing on both sides of the ball like our guys are. Even Coach Kelley (Saraland head coach) said the difference in the game tonight was depth. I don’t what coach ever said there is no such thing as a moral victory. I guess there is some truth to that, but at the same time, obviously he didn’t have guys who played real hard. I thought our guys play their rear ends off. They really did and we had some young guys in there. We played pretty much the whole second half with the same guys who are going to line up and play junior varsity linebacker on Monday versus Hillcrest. I’m telling they were really running around out there. There where a couple of times when they broke some tackles on this end on us, but that’s weight room. That’s the difference between a senior and a tenth grader. We have a lot of things that certainly we can improve on, but it will be real nice to get into the film room on Sunday afternoon and Monday afternoon. We have a great group of seniors. I’m telling they are doing a great job of doing what a senior group is supposed to do. They are disappointed. They wanted to win a football game, and some of them are disappointed because they had to come out of the football game. We had a couple of kids banged up, but I think they are going to be fine. They were key starters for us and so we will get them checked out.”