Montevallo cruises past Southside-Selma in opening round

By BAKER ELLIS / For the Reporter

MONTEVALLO – The Montevallo Bulldogs made short work of the visiting Southside-Selma Panthers in the first round of the 3A playoffs on Oct. 4, taking an 8-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back, winning 45-18 to move to 10-1 on the season and advance to the second round of the playoffs for the second year in a row.

“I thought our kids focused well,” Montevallo head coach Brandon Wilcox said after the game. “We talked all week about having a sense of urgency, and playing with that. I thought we did that tonight, and I’m proud of our kids for that.”

Southside-Selma brought a 7-3 record into the contest, and was averaging nearly 30 points a game on the year, but could not generate much offense against Montevallo in the first round of the playoffs. For the Panthers, the only real offense on the night came from De’Quan Johnson, who spent time at quarterback and wide out, and most of the offense went through him. However, he alone was no much for the athletically superior Montevallo defense and couldn’t keep Southside-Selma in this one by himself.

Montevallo, which brought a 9-1 regular season record into the game, scored first with 4:28 left in the first quarter when Caleb Chappell punched in a two-yard exclamation point to cap a drive that was highlighted by a 40-yard completion from Zac Oden to Tre’Shawn Brown. The Bulldogs went for two on the ensuing conversion attempt and punched that in as well, and took an 8-0 lead into the second quarter.

Brown picked off Johnson on a fourth down play later in the second quarter giving Montevallo the ball on its’ own four-yard line. Oden found Daqwan Bryant for a long completion that kept the drive alive, and then connected with Brown on a 19-yard touchdown play to give the Bulldogs a 15-0 lead, and Montevallo took an 18-6 lead into the half after Diego Martinez knocked in a 27-yard field goal as time expired in the half.

The second half was marked by a quick-striking Montevallo offense and a stingy defensive effort from the Bulldogs as well. Oden hit Bryant for a 41-yard score in the third, which made the score 25-6, and then found Jay Sullens for his third touchdown throw of the night in the fourth quarter to make the score 32-6. Brown later picked off his second pass of the night and returned that for a touchdown, and Tyler Olds scored from 20 yards out with 1:11 left in the game to give Montevallo a commanding lead.

Johnson scored on Southside-Selma’s final offensive possession via a 70-yard pass reception, but it was much too little, much too late, as the Bulldogs rolled 45-18 to move to 10-1, tying the most wins for a Montevallo team in the history of the school.

“We came in here with high expectations, and we’ve held the kids to a high standard,” Wilcox said of reaching the 10-win plateau. “They’ve worked their butts off. We don’t go into our offseason workouts trying to be mediocre. We raise the bar high, we practice hard, we prepare hard and then we play hard. We’re not done yet, we’re still hungry.”

The Montevallo offensive statistics were spread out evenly among a number of different players. Oden finished the game with 276 yards passing on 13 completed balls, good for an average of more than 21 yards per completion, and three touchdowns along with one interception. Brown had two catches for 62 yards and a touchdown reception as well as nine tackles and two interceptions, one of which was a pick six. Bryant finishes with a game-high 124 yards receiving on three catches and a touchdown while Sullens caught three balls for 49 yards and the third touchdown pass from Oden. Chappell had 155 yards on the ground on 14 carries, good for more than 11 yards per touch, and scored once.

On the defensive side of the ball Olds had 12 tackles and a sack, Demetrius Smith had nine tackles and two sacks to go along with Brown’s nine tackles and pick six.

With the win, Montevallo moves to 10-1 on the year and will travel to Mobile Christian next Friday night for a second round matchup.