Montevallo wins wild one-point game against West Blocton

Published 12:23 am Saturday, October 2, 2021

By SCOTT MIMS | Special to the Reporter

MONTEVALLO – It might sound cliché to say Friday night’s Montevallo versus West Blocton game came down to the last second, but it is accurate—the Montevallo Bulldogs squeezed by rival West Blocton Tigers for a thrilling 37-36 home victory.

The victory was a bittersweet one; at the end of the game a Montevallo cheerleader was injured near the sideline and the crowd observed a prayer and moment of silence for her. The student’s name was not released out of respect for the family.

“We’re really proud of our kids,” said Montevallo coach Blake Boren after the game. “West Blocton was the number-one school in offense in the state, and we knew they were going to score. We felt like we would have to get close to 40, but the way we played defense tonight I’m just super proud of our kids. It was an extremely physical game. That’s what they do well, and I thought our kids matched the level of intensity.”

Boren praised the team’s defense and said it was probably the team’s best offensive performance all year thus far. He also had kind words for West Blocton players and coach Eric Hiott.

“He figures out a way to get his kids to play, and they’re disciplined and they’re structured and they play hard and they’re physical, and it’s just an extremely difficult team to go against,” Boren said. “That’s a reflection of his leadership, and he’s a phenomenal coach and I consider him a friend.”

West Blocton drew first blood on a 2-yard touchdown with 4:37 in the first quarter, then Montevallo quarterback Kial Cottingham answered with a 28-yard scoring run down the home sideline with 2:22 remaining in the first. Then, in the final play of the quarter, Jaxon Lightsey reclaimed the Tigers’ lead on a short score.

The Bulldogs would answer when Joseph Anderson sneaked into the end zone with 8:28 in the second, but the PAT was blocked giving West Blocton a 1-point advantage, 14-13.

Later Montevallo overcame a fourth down on a 12-yard pass from Cottingham to Jaydien Rutledge, followed by a 15-yard gain on a keeper. Then Cottingham found Kamron Goins with just 54 seconds left in the half to put the Dawgs up 19-14. The conversion attempt was no good and the game broke for intermission.

In the third quarter, a Montevallo field goal attempt was blocked, setting up another West Blocton touchdown to put the Tigers up 20-19. Montevallo fumbled on the ensuing kickoff return but was able to maintain possession.

In the fourth, a 38-yard pass from Cottingham to Rutledge set up a first-and-goal, and Anderson scored on a 4-yard rush to bring the Dawgs back in the lead, 25-20. However, West Blocton wasted no time scoring on a 30-yard play with 7:33 left in the game. A successful two-point conversion resulted in a score of 28-25 in favor of West Blocton.

By this time the game was becoming a real edge-of-your-seat thriller. Anderson poked it in again for the Dawgs, but on their next drive the Tigers cut loose on a couple of long runs down to the Montevallo 10-yard line.

That’s where Lightsey found the end zone again, and the Tigers capped it off with another two-point conversion to make the score 36-31 West Blocton with just 2:43 on the clock.

On Montevallo’s ensuing drive, a face mask was called on West Blocton resulting in a 15-yard penalty and a greater advantage for a Dawg comeback.

Sure enough, Cottingham found the zone again from 8 yards out to reclaim the Dawgs’ lead by one point, 37-36. A would-be two-point conversion was nullified due to an ineligible receiver down field, and the second attempt was no good.

The Tigers hurried down the field as the final few seconds ticked away, but it was not enough and Montevallo was able to hang on for a big home win.

Anderson finished with 180 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, while Cottingham added 152 and two touchdowns. Cottingham was also 8-of-11 for 113 yards and one touchdown through the air.

Defensively, Jamion Prentice totaled 13 tackles, while Cole Dennis added nine, including a sack.