Montevallo puts up 68 points in third-straight win

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

MONTEVALLO – Montevallo’s explosive offense struck again on Thursday, Sept. 12, with a 68-40 victory at home against Jemison that saw the Bulldogs score all nine of their touchdowns in five plays or less and eight of their nine touchdowns in three plays or less to pull away for their third consecutive victory.

Montevallo (3-1) was able to put up 30 first-half points on just 14 plays and less than eight minutes of possession time thanks to six plays of 20-plus yards, then went on to score five more times in the second half with four of those drives coming in three plays or less and one in five plays.

“We had a couple guys injured tonight,” Montevallo head coach Brandon Wilcox said. “Whenever that happens, we always talk about guys having to step up, and I saw some guys step up tonight that haven’t had big roles this year. Joesph Anderson and Kial Cottingham both had huge nights, and at times, I saw some good things out of our defense.”

One of those guys out with an injury was leading receiver and Auburn commit J.J. Evans, but with the emergence of Anderson, Kam’Ron Goins and Cottingham, as well as receiver Jamarius Carter coming off a 179-yard, three-touchdown performance, Montevallo’s offense didn’t skip a beat.

Carter finished the game with five catches for 121 yards and two touchdowns, while Cottingham had five catches himself for 103 yards and one touchdown. In addition to both of those guys, Goins had an impressive game with four catches for 97 yards and a touchdown.

While Deon Gilliland flashed his brilliance with an early 45-yard touchdown catch on a screen pass, Anderson, a sophomore running back, helped take pressure off Gilliland with 13 carries for 132 yards and two touchdowns.

Quarterback Malik Inabinette finished his night commanding the offense 15-of-18 for 366 yards and five touchdowns.

“Our guys are doing a good job of executing and exploding when they find an opening,” Wilcox said of the offenses explosive plays. “Offensively, any time you score 68 points, you can’t be too upset.”

That offensive power started right out of the gates for the Bulldogs.

After a strong defensive stop to open the game, Montevallo started the fireworks on offense with a strong first drive of the game that saw Goins reel in a 35-yard catch, followed one play later by a 45-yard touchdown catch on a screen pass to running back Gilliland to put the Bulldogs on top 8-0 following a 2-point conversion with 6:30 to play in the opening quarter.

Montevallo’s defense then stepped up again and forced another three-and-out, which brought a confident offense right back on the field.

Three plays into the drive, quarterback Inabinette took the snap and heaved the ball down the visitor’s sideline. He targeted receiver Carter, who leapt up in man coverage and hauled in the catch, before then throwing the defender off of him before rumbling the rest of the way into the end zone for a 43-yard touchdown catch.

Following a 2-point conversion from Gilliland, the Bulldogs took a 16-0 lead with 5:10 left in the first quarter.

At that point in time, Montevallo had scored on two touchdowns of 40-plus yards, had held the ball for less than two minutes and had run just five plays.

Jemison finally answered for the first time in the game with a lengthy drive to start the second quarter, which was capped off by a 6-yard touchdown run from Josh Gilliland. Following a successful 2-point conversion, the Panthers had drawn to within eight points at 16-8 with 6:25 remaining in the half.

It looked as if Montevallo was set to extend its lead on the ensuing drive thanks to a long drive that saw the Bulldogs eventually gain first-and-goal after a 21-yard run from Deon Gilliland, but one play later he fumbled and gave the ball back to the Panthers.

One play into the drive, Jemison took an 89-yard run up the Montevallo sideline to set up first-and-goal before scoring three plays later. The Panthers went on to miss their PAT attempt shortly after due to penalties pushing them back, which kept Montevallo in front 16-14 with 1:48 left in the half.

Jemison had scored 14-unanswered, but the Bulldogs’ explosive offense wasn’t going to be quiet for long and answered in a hurry thanks to another quick two-play drive.

Anderson started the drive with a 22-yard run, before Inabinette hit Goins for a 47-yard touchdown pass to put Montevallo on top 22-14 with 1:02 left in the half.

On the ensuing drive, Montevallo got another good break when Jemison’s quarterback rolled out and threw a wobbly pass over the head of his intended receiver and into the hands of Jamion Mack-Prentice.

With 41 seconds left and on the Jemison 35-yard line, Montevallo put together a 15-yard run and 5-yard run from Anderson, followed by a 13-yard touchdown run from Inabinette to take a 30-14 lead with 14 unanswered points of its own heading into the half.

Interesting enough, the Bulldogs came out and went three-and-out to start the second half, while Jemison came out and scored on a 13-play drive that took up 5:19 of the third quarter.

At that point, the Panthers had cut the deficit to 30-22 with 5:00 left in the third quarter.

But Montevallo’s offense wasn’t stopped the rest of the night.

The Bulldogs went on to score in one play on the ensuing drive following a 60-yard kickoff return and a 16-yard touchdown run both from Anderson.

Jemison then scored its second touchdown in as many drives to start the second half, but failed on the 2-point conversion attempt, which kept the Bulldogs in front by 10 at 38-28.

Three plays later and Montevallo had struck again thanks to an 18-yard touchdown catch from Cottingham, one play after an incredible one-handed catch.

Montevallo then got a defensive stop, and despite starting at its own 5-yard line, proceeded to go 95 yards in two plays thanks to a 35-yard catch from Cottingham and a 64-yard touchdown catch from Carter.

That made it 54-28 with 11:12 remaining in the game, and put Jemison in too deep of a hole. Montevallo went on to score another touchdown on its next drive behind a 14-yard touchdown run from Anderson, which became the only drive to take more than three plays at five.

His touchdown gave the Bulldogs 22 unanswered points.

Jemison went on to score two more touchdowns, while Montevallo added another two-play drive for a touchdown behind a 40-yard touchdown run from Anderson to complete the 68-40 final score.

With the win, Montevallo has now won three in a row and has gained some steam, but ahead of a big matchup with region foe American Christian, Wilcox knows there is still plenty to work on.

“Confidence is a word that you want your team to have, but at the same time you want them to remain hungry,” Wilcox said. “If our team doesn’t see that we have a lot of things to improve on, then their heads are in the sand.

“I think that they’re starting to see we have a chance to be a really good team, but I hope they also see there is a lot of room to improve. We definitely don’t want to be complacent.”

The Bulldogs will travel to American Christian (2-0) on Friday, Sept. 20, for a region showdown that featured a combined 124 points in a 70-54 loss for Montevallo. The Patriots have won their first two games by a combined 76-0 over Trinity and Woodlawn.