Shelby County improves to 2-0 with rivalry win against Montevallo

Published 11:53 pm Friday, August 26, 2022

By ANDREW SIMONSON | Special to the Reporter

MONTEVALLO – It may not have been the prettiest at times, but the Shelby County Wildcats’ youth movement continued to gain steam with a 21-6 rivalry win over the Montevallo Bulldogs on Friday night, Aug. 26.

“You know, the last two weeks really, our kids have got a lot of grit to them; a lot of fight in them,” Shelby County head coach Zeb Ellison said. “They had their backs against the wall quite a few times tonight, and the moment was never too big for them. So that’s a positive and that’s what I’m proud of them for them because they very easily could have laid down and let them walk in, and they didn’t do that. They kept fighting and we were able to come up with some big stops right there.”

The Wildcats’ opening drive took them all the way to the 1-yard line, but a big catch from Jaxson Griffith was called back by a penalty that moved the ball from the one to near midfield, effectively ending the drive.

However, Montevallo couldn’t capitalize, and a short punt gave the Wildcats just 35 yards to score. Cooper Pennington quickly took advantage, reaching the end zone shortly after to put Shelby County up 7-0.

Montevallo got a great opportunity to answer, going on a long Bulldogs drive down to the Shelby County 10-yard line on a Jaydien Rutledge catch, but it was undone when Braxton King ran backwards on a drop-back and took a 20-yard sack.

Shelby County responded with a big throw to Carter Sheehan in coverage at midfield who took it to the house and put the Wildcats up 14-0 going into the half.

On the Wildcats’ first drive of the second half, quarterback Ryan Sipes got the team close to midfield on the first play of the drive before an interception by Keiston Ross was returned to the 3-yard line.

Montevallo’s Anthony Martin ran the ball into the end zone on the next play to put help Montevallo capitalize for the first time on the night and bring the score to 14-6.

While a holding call eliminated a solid return by Shelby County on the ensuing kickoff, Sipes and the offense more than made up the loss, nearly running out the remaining eight minutes of the quarter before Sipes took it in himself from the 1-yard line to close the scoring out at 21-6.

That’s not to say Montevallo was out of chances to score. On the Bulldogs’ first drive of the fourth quarter, Rutledge had another big catch to put the Bulldogs on the 2-yard line, but missed opportunities continued, as Montevallo couldn’t find the end zone on four straight plays and turned the ball over on downs.

Then, late in the fourth quarter, Sheehan had a pick for the Wildcats late in the that gave the ball back to Shelby County and allowed the Wildcats run out the clock.

Bradley Horton led Shelby County’s running game with 87 yards, while Sheehan had 113 receiving yards off just three catches.

“You know, I’m just proud of our guys,” Ellison said. “I’m proud of the way the effort was tonight. You know, we can clean up technique, but that’s one thing about our guys, man, they’re going to fight, and as long as they continue to fight, that’s going to give us a chance.”

Montevallo head coach Blake Boren gave Shelby County’s physicality props while looking to see more from his team building upon previous results.

“I think what happened was we played a really good, physical football team on the other side that we probably didn’t match the level of the physical nature that they played with…We started quarter one tonight and they started quarter nine.”

Boren noted that this group has survived worse straits in his time at Montevallo and believes his team will bounce back and improve.

“You know, we started 0-4 my first year here [in 2020] and we figured out a way to win seven games that year and go second round of the playoffs, so by no means is there any hope lost,” Boren said. “I mean, you know, the bottom line is we got a little bit outplayed tonight, and we’ve got a veteran group and we’ll come back and, you know, I think we have the kind of kids here that will show up, be resilient when we show back up on Monday.”

Shelby County heads back home to face Holtville next Friday, while Montevallo continues its three-game homestand against Hale County.