What to know about the Anniston Bulldogs:
—In Anniston’s second season under head coach Rico White, the Bulldogs have reached their first state semifinal since 2011. They went 6-5 in 2018, earning their first playoff berth since 2015. The Bulldogs sport a 10-4 region record over the past two seasons, and White has put together back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in his 12 years as a head coach.
—Anniston finished third in Class 4A, Region 6 for the second straight season, but a tough region and strong non-region schedule have helped to steel the Bulldogs for playoff success. Three of their four losses came against teams ranked in the top five in 4A, the other against region power Oneonta. It’s showed as Anniston has beaten Fayette County, Fairview and Deshler, the team that beat Anniston in the first round in 2018.
—Anniston made the playoffs back-to-back years for the first time since the Bulldogs made it five years in a row from 2008-12. The Bulldogs’ three playoff victories are their first three since a semifinal run in 2011.
—Anniston lost 13 seniors from 2018 but returned nine starters on defense and seven on offense. The list of returnees included quarterback Tyree Carmichael, wide receiver Mondrecko Thompson, wide receiver Ladreka Hall, safety/linebacker Ali Ware, linebacker Kaleb Jennings, wide receiver/safety Jordan Caldwell, defensive lineman John Foster, tight end/defensive end Jordan Felder and cornerback Tiquon Jackson.
—Four intriguing transfers played huge roles this season, including two from Saks. Quarterback Daveon Dukes was Saks’ backup quarterback last season and became the starter when Roilan Torres suffered a season-ending knee injury. Safety Tony Hunley made the 1A-3A All-Calhoun County team as an athlete in 2018. Running back A.J. Brown and linebacker Micaiah Ross transferred to Anniston from Cleburne County.