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BULLDOGS FALL TO DEFENDING CHAMPS: One touchdown separates Andalusia vs. Central High of Clay County Friday night 28-21

After a hard-fought second round of the Alabama High School Association State Playoffs, Andalusia High School fell to the defending 5A State Champions Central High School of Clay County Friday night by one touchdown, 28-21.

On the first possession for Andalusia, the Volunteers intercepted and took over on their own 38 yard line.

The Volunteers struck first with a flea-flicker pass to go up 6-0 after a missed PAT.

Andalusia’s quarterback Jake Wilson ran it into Volunteer territory and Mike Hourel finished it off with a 36 yard touchdown run to go up 7-6 with 8:03 left in the first quarter.

Central High started marching down the field with a few first-down passes and took the lead with 31 seconds to go in the first quarter 14-7 after a two-point conversion.

Hourel rushed again for a couple of first downs to get the Bulldogs inside the opposing 15 yard line, but after several penalties, Andalusia had to punt.

On the next possession, Wilson hit Chip Morgan for a first down to put the Bulldogs on the opposing 48 yard line.

Wilson then scrambled for a first down to get the Bulldogs to the 38 yard line.

Wilson connected with Caleb Blackston for a first down and then Wilson ran it to the four yard line and then punched it in to tie the game at 14-14 to end the first half.

Central High intercepted the ball to start the second half, but had to punt.

Hourel then broke through the Volunteer defense and put the Bulldogs up 21-14.

The Volunteers opened up the fourth quarter with a touchdown to end the scoring effort for the night 28-21.

“These kids played so valiantly both offensively and defensively,” AHS head coach Trent Taylor said. “We have to give credit to Central Clay, they made plays when they needed to make them. They have won the championship the past two years and they found a way to win this one.”

When speaking about his group of seniors, he said it would be hard to find a group of seniors like them.

This is the first year that Andalusia High School has competed in Class 5A after going to the fourth round for the past four years in Class 4A.

“We started slow and that just showed how good the competition was in 5A,” Taylor said. “We battled back and I told the kids this week that there were 16 teams left and we would be in pretty good company. For these seniors, I certainly hate it. We’ll give our guys a few days off and then we will start planning for the offseason.”

Andalusia finished their season 7-4.

Central High School of Clay County will now play St. Paul’s in the third round of the AHSAA State Playoffs next week.