Montevallo Bulldogs open with win

Entering the 2002 high school football season, Montevallo High School head coach Charlie Boren wanted two things out of his offense &045; balance and consistency.

In Friday night’s 33-14 season opening win, he got both.

The Bulldogs rolled up 405 yards on offense, 287 on the ground and 118 through the air, opening the season with a win over the Green Wave for the second consecutive season.

Senior tailback D.J. Barnes did most of the damage, rushing for 178 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.

Barnes did have help, however.

One look at the scoring log shows five players figuring in the scoring, with Blake Boren connecting with Anthony Purnell on two touchdowns.

Corey Williams and A.J. Ward rushed for one TD apiece.

&uot;I’m excited by the fact that we got so many players involved in the offense,&uot; Boren said.

&uot;Going into a tough run of region games, it’s nice to know that you have depth at several key positions.&uot;

Montevallo opened the scoring with 6:08 remaining in the first quarter, when Boren hit Anthony Purnell with a 51-yard strike.

Heath Pickett’s extra point attempt was blocked, giving the Bulldogs a 6-0 lead.

Barely two minutes later, the Green Wave’s Tavaris Threatt scampered 61 yards to tie the score, as Leeds’ attempt at a two point conversion pass fell incomplete.

The big play was typical of the entire game, as 121 of Leeds’ 233 total offensive yards came on three plays.

Boren said that his squad still needs work on avoiding those game-breaking plays.

&uot;We definitely missed some tackles, especially early on.

We’ll spend some time working on that in the coming week,&uot; he stated.

MHS managed to regain the lead, however, with 9:47 to go in the second quarter, as Barnes found the end zone from 45 yards out.

Again, the extra point attempt failed, and the Bulldogs led 12-6.

Four minutes later, Leeds’ Jeremy Glover tossed a 25-yard touchdown pass to Terrance Taylor to tie the score again.

This time, the Green Wave made good on the two-point conversion, with Threatt plunging in from three yards out to put Leeds on top 14-12.

Whatever the MHS coaching staff had to say at halftime must have worked, as the Bulldogs kept the Green Wave out of scoring range for the remainder of the game.

Early in the third quarter, however, Montevallo got the last touchdown it would need when fullback Corey Williams blasted his way into the end zone from the 21 yard line.

Boren threw to Purnell for the conversion and a 20-14 advantage.

While the Leeds offense continued to struggle with turnovers and penalties, Boren was just getting warmed up.

The sophomore quarterback completed seven of his last nine passes, including a 21-yarder to Purnell for a touchdown with 1:39 left in the third.

Pickett’s PAT was good, and MHS led 27-14.

Midway through the fourth period, the two teams exchanged turnovers before MHS freshman A.J. Ward scored on a two-yard run up the middle.

With the PAT sailing wide, the final tally was 33-14.

Defensively, the Bulldogs were impressive at times.

Fifteen of the Green Wave’s 38 rushing attempts went for zero or negative yardage.

That is the kind of play that the MHS head coach believes his team must have to make a run at the region title.

Justin Simpson recorded 13 tackles to earn praise from Boren.

&uot;If we can continue to be stingy up front while avoiding those big plays, we’ve got a chance to be very good,&uot; Boren says.

&uot;With our offensive balance giving us so many ways to attack defenses, we’re going to have a chance any time our defense holds teams to a couple of touchdowns.&uot;

The Bulldogs’ season opening win is even bigger when you look at the next three games.

Next week, MHS travels to Childersburg to open a tough three-game stretch of Region 5 contests.

On Sept. 13, Montevallo plays at Jemison and follows up by hosting Corner.

Boren says, &uot;It’s a great relief to know that our guys can go into that series of games with a sense of confidence and knowing that they are good enough to beat a good football team.

We didn’t play our best game, so we know that eliminating the mistakes that we made in week one will make us that much better.&uot;