Schedule Breakdown: Montevallo prepares to climb region once again

Published 12:31 pm Tuesday, July 25, 2023

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

The Montevallo Bulldogs may have fallen short and missed the playoffs last season, but expectations are high for another playoff run this season.

It won’t be easy thanks to a difficult regional schedule, but there are plenty of winnable games across the Bulldogs 2023 slate as they seek a fifth playoff berth in six seasons.

After a Week 1 bye, Montevallo’s schedule opens with one of their biggest matchups of the season against non-region rival Shelby County on the road on September 1. Since renewing their rivalry, this matchup has brought the best out of both teams and is one of the highlights of the season. Last year, Montevallo’s offense started slow and the Bulldogs lost 21-6 to Shelby County, but they will have a chance to turn the tides this year in Columbiana.

Montevallo’s three-game road trip will continue with a September 8 game against Hale County. The Bulldogs won their matchup last year and finished with an identical record to Hale County, meaning another win here could play into the final standings at the end of the year.

Afterwards, Montevallo will play another road game against Dallas County on September 15. Montevallo shut out the Hornets last year, and they will look for another strong night on both sides of the ball to take care of business again.

In Week 5 on September 22, the Bulldogs will finally play their home opener, and it couldn’t be a bigger game with West Blocton paying a visit. Each of the last three seasons, this game has been decided by one point, with the defense ruling last year’s meeting in a 7-6 win for the Tigers. West Blocton finished third in the region last year, and Montevallo will be fighting them to reclaim that third spot in the region and secure a playoff spot, which makes a head-to-head win valuable for a potential tiebreaker and momentum in the standings.

That game is the opening contest of a three-game homestand, and the second game is a matchup with Jemison on September 29. The game is another chance for Montevallo to prove themselves against 5A opposition as they prepare for the intensity of the playoffs with a tough non-region schedule.

The Bulldogs will wrap up their homestand against Sipsey Valley on October 6, which is another crucial game for both teams. The teams finished tied in the regional standings and Sipsey Valley took last year’s meeting 33-14, so revenge for Montevallo this year would go a long way to getting them back to the playoffs.

Then, Montevallo will hit the truly difficult part of their schedule starting with a trip to Bibb County on October 13. Bibb finished second in the region and shut out the Bulldogs in Montevallo last year, and Montevallo will hope to close the gap on their regional foes this time around in their final road game of the regular season.

Next, they’ll take on Holt on October 20 to start another three-game homestand. While Montevallo has handled Holt well over the last couple of years, they won’t want to overlook them as they approach the final regional game of the season the week after.

That regional finale is against defending region champions American Christian on October 27. This game is always a difficult one for Montevallo, however, if both sides of the ball are operating at a postseason level for this game, they could be able to make a close game out of it, especially at home.

Finally, Montevallo will close out their regular season schedule and home slate against Tarrant on November 3. The non-region matchup was close last year, with the Bulldogs taking the game 21-14, so Montevallo will hope to make it two in a row against the Wildcats. Should Montevallo make the playoffs, this game will be a great opportunity to generate positive momentum as the Bulldogs prepare to take another shot at the state title.