Anderson’s 300-plus yard night leads Montevallo in rivalry win against Shelby County

By ANDREW SIMONSON | Special to the Reporter

MONTEVALLO – It was senior night at Montevallo, and it was the seniors who carried the Montevallo Bulldogs to a 41-24 win over the Shelby County Wildcats on Aug. 27 in a rivalry win.

Even without starting quarterback Kial Cottingham, Montevallo got off to a strong start, causing a fumble on the opening kick-off and only needing three plays for senior running back Joseph Anderson to pick up right where he left off for a touchdown.

That was the beginning of another 300-plus yard night for Anderson, as he now has 638 yards rushing in two weeks.

“Joseph’s made a commitment to change his body. He put on some good quality weight, he’s worked on his speed, I think tonight he caught a few passes, you saw him on the perimeter for the first time,” head coach Blake Boren said after the win. “It doesn’t always have to be a head on into a big pile with Joseph.”

Shelby County, however, answered on the next possession by finding Matthew Pearson on a 50-50 ball and letting him evade multiple defenders on his way to a 55-yard score to even the game at 6-6.

Connor Rogers forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, which led to a 50-yard drive where Connor Rigney caught a 25-yard pass on third down to set up a goal-line score by Evan Joiner. The following 2-point conversion gave the Wildcats a 14-6 lead.

Two possessions later, Montevallo knotted up the score at 14 with a 38-yard Anderson run on the first play of the drive, before following it with a successful 2-point conversion.

Montevallo’s defense held the line well on its next two possessions, including one occasion that turned a big run by Wildcats’quarterback Conner Aderholt into a third-and-27 thanks to a 10-yard sack and a 7-yard loss on back-to-back plays.

After the teams traded punts, Shelby County punched in a 30-yard field goal with 3:18 remaining in the half to go into the break with a 17-14 lead.

After an Anderson fumble to start the second half, both sides were held scoreless until Anderson’s third score of the game capped off a 16-play Montevallo drive to give the Bulldogs a 21-17 lead.

The Bulldogs didn’t relinquish the lead for the rest of the game, thanks to Anderson adding two more touchdown runs in the final frame, one which was on a 69-yard run to give the senior running back 330 yards and five touchdowns on 33 carries.

A Kam Goins rushing score for the Bulldogs added to his 88-yard night, while a rushing touchdown from Aderholt closed out the scoring in the fourth, as Montevallo took the contest 41-24

After the game, Bulldogs head coach Blake Boren shared what had led to Anderson’s hot start to the 2021 campaign.

Despite the score line, first-year Shelby County head coach Zeb Ellison was quick to see improvements in his team since last week’s jamboree loss at Holtville.

“Offensively, we started making the right reads and were able to catch the ball a little better,” he said. “We got a little smarter there so the game’s slowed down for us a little bit. Defensively, we’re still moving guys around, trying to see where they fit, and we just gotta get better at what we do.”

Even quicker was coach Boren in seeing the positive in his opponent’s performance.

“I think the first thing you have to do is give credit to coach Ellison at Shelby County. I thought they had a very good game plan and pushed us to our limit. And we saw tonight, they’ve made tremendous improvements on tape and they’re going to be a really, really good football team down the road.”

Aderholt finished 12-of-18 for 174 yards with one rushing and one passing touchdown for the Wildcats.

Photos available at Shelbycountyphotos.com.