Montevallo drops first game of season despite 54 points

Published 12:58 am Saturday, September 22, 2018

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

MONTEVALLO – Coming into the matchup against one another, American Christian Academy and Montevallo had scored a combined 290 points between them and had a combined record of 7-0 with both teams undefeated.

It set up what looked like a great matchup on paper, but with the Patriots’ defense having not given up a single point through three games coming into the contest, it was difficult to see how the Bulldogs would be as successful as they had been all season up to this game.

Sure enough, ACA came out and quickly showed its offense was prepared to put points on a board, which meant Montevallo needed to as well.

Unfortunately, 40 second-half points, including 32 in the fourth quarter, weren’t enough to overcome a sluggish start that saw the Bulldogs fall behind 35-0 in the first half and 70-22 at one point, as the Patriots picked up a 70-54 victory.

In just two pass plays of 19 and 53 yards, respectively, American Christian (4-0, 2-0) had already grabbed a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter.

Montevallo (4-1, 1-1) then went on to turn the ball over on downs on its first drive of the night and the Patriots made the Bulldogs pay quickly with a long drive that saw American Christian’s quarterback run in from 10 yards out for a 14-0 lead.

The next drive really seemed to be the turning point in the game.

Still not out of it, but needing a big answer to keep from falling to a distant deficit, the Bulldogs got the ball on the ensuing drive and made it to midfield, but a crushing fumble was recovered by the Patriots.

After two first downs, ACA ran into the end zone for yet another score to make Montevallo pay as the Patriots had taken a 21-0 lead quickly.

The Bulldogs had no momentum at that point as American Christian continued instilling its will over the next few minutes posting two more unanswered touchdowns for the 35-0 lead after a 5-yard touchdown run and then an onside kick led to a 30-yard touchdown pass in a short span of time.

Montevallo’s first spark came on special teams when Deon Gilliland picked up a 90-yard kick return for a touchdown that finally gave the Bulldogs a jolt of energy with their first points on the board. After a failed 2-point conversion, they trailed 35-6.

It was part of a special night for Gilliland, who also had 18 rushes for 123 yards, one touchdown and five 2-point conversions.

The Bulldogs made another strong defensive stand and scored shortly after on a 5-yard rushing touchdown, but ACA answered the call quickly with its sixth touchdown of the night shortly after.

With the game in hand in the second half, American Christian used a lot of different players, but Montevallo never gave up and fought back to within two scores to make the final score look competitive at 70-54.

Montevallo quarterback Malik Inabinette ended the game 12-of-29 for 249 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. Stud receiver J.J. Evans had five catches for 167 yards and four touchdowns.

Jay Sullengs added another big special teams play with a 60-yard punt return for a touchdown.

Tavicia Tutt had five tackles, while Jaylon McKenzie had four.

Montevallo has a much-deserved by week coming up before they take on a 1-4 West Blocton team on the road on Oct. 5.

Larry Dancy contributed to this story