Montevallo, Thompson square off in 7-on-7 drills

The two schools faced each other in a 7-on-7 drill, renewing a rivalry from years past while tweaking their passing offenses and defenses. (Reporter Photo/Drew Granthum)

The two schools faced each other in a 7-on-7 drill, renewing a rivalry from years past while tweaking their passing offenses and defenses. (Reporter Photo/Drew Granthum)

By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Editor

ALABASTER — Skill players on both the Thompson and Montevallo High football squad a bit of a glimpse into the past while preparing for the future on June 12. The two schools faced each other in a 7-on-7 drill, renewing a rivalry from years past while tweaking their passing offenses and defenses.

The drills are something that has been in the works since the head coaches of the two schools — Mike Montgomery at Thompson and Andrew Zow at Montevallo — struck up a friendship.

“Coach Montgomery and myself got to know each other, and became friends when I was (coaching) at Oak Mountain,”  Zow said. “(We) felt like it would be a good idea and thought it would be good competition.”

Each squad lined their quarterbacks, running back and receivers against the other’s linebackers, cornerbacks and safeties in attempt to run passing plays and defensive coverage.

Montgomery said the opportunity to play a close opponent that his squad doesn’t normally face was one that the Warriors couldn’t pass up.

“It was an opportunity for us to get together,” he said. “Montevallo and Alabaster are close. (It was) a way to get competition without having to travel or spend money.”

Before Thompson’s attendance rose to move the school up into the AHSAA 6A — and now the 7A — class, the Warriors and Bulldogs faced off annually from 1949-1997, with Thompson taking the last matchup, 35-27, at home.

Both coaches said they felt their squads benefited from the experience. Montgomery also said that his team didn’t even film. the practice, instead concentrating on fundamentals.

“(It) breaks the monotony,” Montgomery said. “When you go out and play, you’re still dealing with football concepts.”

Zow agreed with Montgomery.

“I still feel we have a ways to go,” he said. “But I think our guys are growing. The quarterback is getting work. You’ve got to be able to compete. We’ve got young guys coming up that can help.”

Both Montevallo and Thompson start their seasons Aug. 22, with the Bulldogs hosting Locust Fork and the Warriors travelling to Wetumpka.