Bulldogs conclude season in first round of playoffs

Brett Gray, Sports Editor

    The Montevallo Bulldogs ended their 2011 season with a lackluster record of four wins and sixes losses, with a first round appearance in the 3A regional play-offs.
    However, before they took a road trip to face Bayside Academy in the playoffs, the Bulldogs had a streak of important games to get them to that point.
    The first of these games was against the Gordo Green Wave at home.  The Bulldogs had just come off a major televised victory against Northside two weeks prior, and a bye-week the week after that.  Montevallo had the home field advantage, and momentum from the past two weeks carrying them into the game, so they were looking for a major upset.
    This mindset served the Bulldogs well in the first half, where they were able to carry a 7-0 lead into the locker room.  After a big stop on defense, the boys in blue were able to jump start a long drive down the field, resulting in senior running back Garrius Chappell’s touchdown run, followed by senior kicker Brett Gray’s extra point.
    Yet, coming out after halftime, the Bulldogs were unable to continue their stunning performance, and gave up 64 points in the second half.
    While Chappell scored the team’s only touchdown, senior running back R.J. Scaife led the team in rushing, with 12 attempts for 107 yards.
    After that disappointing loss to Gordo, the Bulldogs began preparations for a regional game against Hale County, a must win for the Bulldogs to make it to the playoffs.
    After a long week of practice, the team traveled to Hale County prepared for war.  They prepared correctly, shocking the opposing team with a 35-20 victory.  Montevallo beat Hale County in all major categories, including first downs (19-11), rush attempts and yards (43-320, 38-146), and total offense (410-267). 
    Chappell scored two touch downs, as did Scaife, one of which came from the arm of senior quarterback Taylor Burr, who was 5 for 7 on the night, for 90 yards and no interceptions.  Senior running back Eugene Rodgers also added one more to the score board.  Gray was good on all five extra point attempts.  This huge win clinched their playoff birth, and sparked new life in the players.
    This new energy took them on yet another road trip, where they played Coosa Central in a non region match-up. While they only scored 25 points, the Bulldogs dominated Coosa, putting up 249 rushing yards, 87 passing yards, and 336 yards of total offense. Chappell and Scaife once again handled the scoring duties, with the former scoring two, and the latter adding the final blow. Gray was 1-3 on extra point attempts.
    After the win against Coosa Central, Montevallo only had one short week to get ready for the Bayside Academy Admirals.  Four days, and a four hour ride later, the Bulldogs were on the field prepared for kickoff.  In a sad turn of events, Bayside completely owned the first half, putting up 40 unanswered points. However, after an inspiring halftime speech, the Bulldogs returned rejuvenated. 
    Things started rolling for the Bulldogs with a 42-yard touchdown pass from Burr to Rodgers. Bayside answered with a quick touchdown.  Once again, the Bulldogs rallied with Rodgers scoring two more touchdowns, one on a 71-yard run, and 27-yard run.  Gray was good on all three attempts.  Rodgers ended the night with 12 carries for 172 yards, and Chappell had 12 attempts for 56 yards.  Burr finished with 4 completions of 7 attempts, for 49 yards and one interception.  The play-offs ended for the Bulldogs with a final score of 54-21.