Montevallo’s postseason run ends in 2nd round
By CHRIS REIN | Special to the Reporter
HELENA – The clock struck midnight on Montevallo’s Cinderella season, as the Bulldogs fell 42-13 to fifth-ranked Handley in the second round of the Class 4A playoffs on Friday, Nov. 13.
Due to lingering damage to Montevallo’s stadium from Hurricane Zeta, the game was played at Helena High School, and the Bulldogs hung tough for a while, but couldn’t find any second-half magic.
“Obviously tonight was not the result we wanted, but if you had talked to anybody back in January or February, we had a tremendous year…We shot ourselves in the foot a little bit and obviously they’re a Top-5 team, but our kids fought,” Montevallo head coach Blake Boren said. “There’s a lot of positives to take away, but a tough way to end the year.”
After forcing a Montevallo three-and-out, Handley struck first as Montavious Meadows took the handoff on an end-around and raced 36 yards to the end zone, before the 2-point conversion made it 8-0.
Montevallo answered with a long drive on its next possession, keyed by a 44-yard completion from Jay Dreyer to Kial Cottingham. But the Bulldogs brought in Will Snuggs to take the direct snap and fumbled the ball away on the Handley 16-yard line.
A short, 17-yard punt gave Montevallo the ball back in Handley territory, and the Bulldogs scored on the next play when Dreyer found Cottingham open over the middle. After bouncing off a Handley defender, Cottingham sprinted to the end zone, and Gio Hernandez’s kick closed the gap to 8-7.
Handley needed only four plays to answer, as quarterback Evan Cofield hit Quadae Lewis in the flat, and the speedy receiver weaved 31 yards through the left side of the Montevallo defense for the score. Meadows’s 2-point run made it 16-7 Tigers at the end of the first quarter.
After punts by both teams, Handley extended its lead with 34 seconds in the half when a rolling Cofield found Dylan Brooks racing across the front of the end zone from 16 yards out, but a missed PAT left it 22-7 at the half.
After forcing a Handley three-and-out on the opening possession of the second half, the Bulldogs cut the lead to nine on Joseph Anderson’s 29-yard run. The hard-running tailback went around the right side and broke four tackles on his way to the end zone. Boren elected to go for two but Dreyer’s pass fell short making it 22-13.
And that ended up being as close as the Bulldogs got the rest of the way, as Handley put together long touchdown drives on their next three possessions to put the game away.
Anderson carried the ball 27 times for 98 yards and a score. Dreyer finished 12-23 on the night for 164 yards and the one touchdown to Cottingham, who caught eight passes for 135 yards.
Boren said he will miss his outstanding senior class.
“You know we had three seniors that returned that had played football last year and we had 10 this year. We had seven guys that believed enough in what we were talking about every day in the halls to come out and try, and they ended up being some of our biggest contributors,” Boren said. “This group’s a winner, and they’ve done something that only nine other teams in the history of Montevallo football have done. I’m super proud to be their coach and appreciative of them and the effort they’ve played with all year.”
Looking ahead to next year, Boren said he is “excited about the future of Montevallo football” with “a lot of good young players coming back.”