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KEEPING THE TRAIN ROLLING: Andy preps for region battle with Hillcrest

The No. 7-ranked Andalusia Bulldogs (2-2, 1-1) hope to keep things rolling as they host Class 4A, Region 1 opponent Hillcrest-Evergreen (2-2, 1-1) tonight in Andalusia.

“It’s a really big one,” Andalusia head coach Trent Taylor said of the game against Hillcrest. “I was certainly proud of the way our kids performed last Friday. Monroe County is still up and coming, but the kids didn’t look at it as a week off. I thought we had a great week of practice last week and I thought we played extremely well on both sides of the ball. We did what we needed to do and were able to get some young guys in the second half and that’s a great thing. We have kind of had that same deal this week.”

Taylor said the team has been focused on improving.

“This group has really impressed me with their attitude and their work ethic,” Taylor said. “It was brutally hot Monday and especially Tuesday. Tuesday is our full pad day and I think they have been really really focused. They know what to expect. Some of the kids are friends with some of the kids from Evergreen. I’m sure they talk a lot and give each other the business through the offseason and then you know it’s a team that we had to play twice last year.”

Hillcrest is a team with talent all over the field, Taylor said.

“They have talent at every position,” Taylor said. “This is no coach speak, but they have four or five legitimate D1 type athletes. They have guys that have D1 offers so there is no shortage of talent for them. It’s a situation were we are both 1-1 in the region now so it’s an important ball game.”

Taylor said this game is important for playoff implications.

“I don’t think there is any doubt and I don’t think you would get any argument from any one in other regions that more than likely your representative from the south in 4A football is going to come out of Region 1,” Taylor said. “With that being said, you could be the first or the fourth seed and certainly have a chance to be in Auburn later on this season. The other thing is this time of year, No. 1 playing for seeding, but you are also playing for home-field advantage. The way it works with the state is the higher seeded team is going to be the home team if you are from the same region. That’s one of the reasons we had to go back to Evergreen last year in playoffs because they beat us in the regular season.”

Andalusia holds the same record this year as they did last year at this time, but Taylor said it doesn’t feel the same.

“Record wise, we are exactly where we were a year ago,” Taylor said. “I don’t think our kids feel that way. They feel good about what they are doing, but they know too that we’ve still got a lot of football left to be played and certainly a lot of areas we’ve got to improve on. There is no doubt when they show up every day they are focused on doing what they need to do to improve on the field. That’s exciting from where I sit. They are real tight group and they are really pulling for each other. They doing anything they can to make each other the best that they can be.”

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