Bulldogs slow down B.T. Washington for key region win; sets up matchup of unbeatens for region title next week

Published 10:48 pm Friday, October 20, 2023

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Andalusia High School’s defense held the Booker T. Washington offense scoreless on the way to a key region victory that secures a first-round home playoff game for the Bulldogs.

The Golden Eagles played tough throughout the game and trailed Andalusia by only one going into the half, 7-6. But, a kickoff return by Kal Crittenden to start the second half sparked the Bulldogs who went on to notch a 27-6 win to remain undefeated on the season.

J’Marion Burnette finished with 169 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

Head Coach Trent Taylor said it wasn’t one of his team’s cleanest performances, but also gave his players credit for overcoming adversity against the physical Golden Eagles.

“It wasn’t the prettiest game, especially in the first half,” Taylor said. “They [BTW] have a great group of athletes and we knew that coming into the game. Give them a lot of credit, but I was proud of how our kids came out after halftime. We have some things we can work out to move forward.”

While the Golden Eagles had some big plays, the Bulldog defense was dominant, holding the opposing offense scoreless. BTW’s only score came off an interception return in the first quarter that lifted them to an early 6-0 lead after coming up short on a two-point conversion.

The Bulldogs answered after taking possession at their own 40-yard line courtesy of an 18-yard return by Kam Weaver. Runningback J’Marion Burnette took the first two carries for 11 yards. Later, facing a third-and-11, quarterback Jack Lathrop  connected with Parker Adams for a big gain of 25 for to the Eagle 26.  A few hand-offs to Burnette and Zerrick Jones put the Bulldogs at the 9-yard line. The second holding penalty of the drive backed the Bulldogs up, but Lathrop found Adams again who proceeded to dodge defenders for a 19-yard touchdown reception. Cobb Stewart’s point-after gave Andalusia a 7-6 lead with 30 seconds to go in the first quarter.

Later in the period, after claiming their second interception of the game, the Golden Eagles marched as far as the Andalusia 22. The Golden Eagles momentarily had a touchdown in the front corner of the end zone, but Neillex Ferrell came in hard, knocking the ball out the receiver’s hands. Three plays later, it was Cadariyus Love’s turn to make a big play, hauling in an interception and giving the Bulldogs possession at the 5-yard line.

AHS senior Parker Adams led the team with three receptions for 70 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown.

The Bulldogs had a long drive that took up most of the clock remaining in the first half. But, they stalled at the BTW 24-yard line when failing to convert on a fourth-and-seven.

The second half got off to a fast start with Crittenden’s opening kickoff return of 78 yards, lifting Andalusia to a 14-6 lead.

The Bulldog defense took control, including holding the Golden Eagles on two fourth down conversion attempts. Meanwhile the offense leaned on Burnette who ultimately scored on a 2-yard run late in the third and a 34-yard scamper midway through the fourth to complete the scoring.

Burnette finished the game with 169 yards on 22 carries with two touchdowns.

Lathrop went 13-of-18 for 133 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Adams was the leading receiver, having three catches for 70 yards and a touchdown. Crittenden had four catches for 25 yards.

On defense, Ferrell led with eight tackles. Landen Marshall and Xavier Marshall each had five tackles with Tristan Pitts recording four, Riley Tucker had three stops, and Love finished with three tackles, two of those for losses. L. Marshall also had two tackles for losses.

The win sets up a winner-takes-all for the region title next week when Andalusia (9-0, 6-0) travels to Montgomery Catholic (9-0, 6-0) in a matchup of undefeated teams. Andalusia is currently ranked first in 4A while the Knights were third in the poll coming into Friday night.

“They (Montgomery Catholic) have a great football team again this year and we’ll have to work hard this week and do our best to make it a good game,” Taylor said.