Montevallo scores on final drive for 1-point region win

Published 1:33 am Saturday, October 7, 2023

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By CHRIS MEGGINSON | Special to the Reporter

MONTEVALLO – For the second straight week, the Montevallo Bulldogs slipped past an opponent, 21-20, this time at home in Class 4A, Region 3 action against Sipsey Valley in the last minute of the game on Friday, Oct. 6.

The thrilling final-minute win positioned the Bulldogs in a tie for second place (3-1) in the region with three region games remaining.

“All-in-all it was really a gutsy performance… The biggest thing tonight is it took everyone on our team. This truly was a complete effort from offense, defense and being able to kick the ball through the uprights. They battled all night and all of them played two-ways,” said Montevallo head coach Blake Boren.

Trailing 20-14 after a 68-yard touchdown pass by Sipsey Valley and a failed extra point, Montevallo took over on its own 20 late in the final quarter.

Quarterback Braxton King marched his team 80 yards, converting three fourth downs on the final series, to tie the ballgame. With a minute left, on fourth down, King connected with Christian Tolbert for a touchdown to even the score at 20-20.

The game came down to the tired leg of left tackle and kicker Ben Locks, who split the uprights for the win. Locks is now 6-of-6 on extra points in the last two weeks.

Boren credits the winning drive to the change his program has seen since the offseason began.

“We started in January and February to create a culture within our locker room,” he said. “We know that with the good times, there will be some adversity. It’s been a 7-8 month process, and I think it showed up tonight. In years past maybe this game doesn’t go our way. The most important thing is we have a great connection and bond in the locker room, and I think it’s a big part of tonight.”

King finished the night 11-of-16 for 167 yards passing and two touchdowns, while also rushing for 42 yards on 12 carries.

The workhorse on the ground was Razareo Conwell’s 130 yards on 30 rushes. His 46-yard touchdown in the third quarter broke a 7-7 halftime tie to put Montevallo back in front, 14-7.

The Bulldogs led three times on the night. First, King connected with Javon Rogers for a 56-yard touchdown with 6:10 to play in the first quarter. Rogers finished with 150 yards on 10 catches. Sipsey Valley answered with a 43-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.

The visiting Bears used two big pass plays in the fourth quarter to take the lead with a 53-yard touchdown pass to tie the game and the 68-yard go-ahead score before the Bulldogs’ final drive.

Boren said he was proud of his team’s defensive effort against a pass-heavy team.

“We did a great job creating pressure,” Boren said.

Deterrius Cutts, Keiston Ross and Nylan Goode each had four tackles as standouts on the defense. Cutts and Ross combined for three turnovers with an interception apiece and a Ross fumble recovery. Goode had one sack.

Montevallo moves to 5-1 for the first time since 2018 as it prepares to travel to region leader Bibb County (6-1, 4-0) on Oct. 13. The Bulldogs will play three of their final four regular season games on the road.