Montevallo exacts revenge from Calera

Only one game mattered to Montevallo through the offseason: Calera.

Ever since the Eagles downed the Bulldogs, 32-7, last year, Montevallo’s calendar was ready for opening night.

“We worked the whole offseason to beat them. That’s what our drive was tonight to beat Calera,” Montevallo quarterback Kevin Callender said. “It’s going to slingshot us. From this on, we’re going to have the momentum for the rest of the season.”

Callender didn’t waste any time throwing the momentum in Montevallo’s favor, as he found a hole in the Calera defense and took the game’s opening play 75 yards for a touchdown.

The dash down the left sideline was the first of six touchdowns Callender played a part in to lead the Dawgs to a 46-41 victory.

“He is special. This is year 16 for me, and I haven’t coached a better one, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be on staffs that had two sign with SEC schools. He’s the best. I’d take no other quarterback in the state, 1A to 6A,” Montevallo head coach Jim King said.

Callender rushed for 137 yards and two touchdowns and completed 12 of his 16 passes for 247 yards and four touchdowns – a performance Calera head coach Mac Thompson was impressed by.

“He’s probably one of the best skill guys we have seen. I knew he was fast. I didn’t know he was that fast,” Thompson said. “He looked as good as any we’ve seen the last two years.”

Calera took a 14-6 lead after Callender’s opening drive with two touchdown runs by Kendal Cox. But a 78-yard kickoff return by Toney Kent pulled the Dawgs back into the game.

Montevallo regained the lead, 19-14, on a 71-yard pass to Brandon Lilly, but a facemask penalty called against Dajuan Fulgham gave Calera new life on its own 40 yard line on the next possession. Fulgham was called for the penalty after placing a hand on the top of a helmet, well above the facemask, to make a tackle.

“That got us very, very fired up. We were mad. Our coaches said all we were going to do is keep our heads up, and we’d make a play,” Fulgham said.

He did just that with a one-handed snag on a pass from Calera’s Trent Posey at the Eagles’ 33. Three plays later, Callender found Fulgham on an 11-yard touchdown strike to send Montevallo into halftime up 26-14.

Fulgham pointed to the sky as he ran across the field, dedicating the score to his father, Dewayne Miller, who passed away Aug. 8, one day before Fulgham’s birthday.

“Every time I go on the field, that’s what I think about is my dad. That’s who I play for,” said Fulgham, who had the letters “D.M.” and “R.I.P.” written on his eye black.

Montevallo opened the second half scoring with a 16-yard pass touchdown pass to Lilly, but Calera’s Brandon Wells answered with a 26-yard scoring strike to Walker Smith.

Callender responded with a 30-yard pass to Drew Harris.

Wells managed to find the end zone three more times, including the final play of the game, but it wasn’t enough for Calera.

“We’re not to the point where we can do the things we have done the last two years,” Thompson said. “(Offensively,) we’re close. We know that we’re a better football team than what we’ve been playing … This should be (Montevallo’s) year. It’s heartbreaking to score 41 points and still lose.”

Wells did not see the field in the first half, but was 11-of-20 passing for 171 yards and four touchdowns in the second half. Thompson said he chose to put Posey at quarterback to start the game, because the team is not deep enough to run the spread offense an entire game.

The win is Montevallo’s first over the Eagles since 2005. King said while he wanted to enjoy the win, the game exposed a lot of things that need work, but as long as the Bulldogs fight they way they did against Calera, the other things can be corrected.

“They wanted some respect and they were determined to get it,” King said of the Calera game.

Now he hopes that desire for respect will play on week-by-week.

Montevallo hits the road to take Dadeville on Sept. 5, while Calera will host Holt.