The bar of expectations has been raised to lofty heights with Montgomery Academy’s run of success the past few seasons. That’s why last week’s disappointing loss to Randolph stung so badly.
The Eagles have grown accustomed to imposing their will on the opposition, methodically grabbing large chunks of yardage on the ground and controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. But they strayed from their winning formula last week.
MA rediscovered its true colors Friday night at McLemore Field, rushing for 298 yards in a dominating win over Beulah, 41-0, in their region opener.
“When we focus and do what we do best, what we’ve done for the last five years, we’re a good football team,” Eagle coach Anthony McCall said. “We executed well tonight and returned to what MA football is all about. I’m proud of the way we responded after the loss.”
The Eagles (2-1, 1-0 in Class 3A Region 3) scored on four of their first five possessions, taking a 24-0 lead midway through the second period. MA racked up 394 total yards as the starters were removed late in the third quarter.
The Eagle defense was equally stout. Beulah (0-2, 0-1) could muster only eight total yards against MA’s first-team defense through three quarters, finishing with 111 total yards for the game.
Sam Hudson and Jud Blount led MA’s defensive charge with nine tackles each.
“I’m proud of the effort our defense showed tonight. We were disciplined and showed great intensity. I felt like our guys started having fun again and played much more relaxed this week,” McCall said.
MA marched the ball 55 yards to the Bobcat 6 on the opening drive before settling for the first of two field goals from Dylan Mills, this one coming from 23 yards.
The Eagles covered 77 yards on their next possession, the final 48 coming on a scintillating keeper from quarterback Barton Lester that saw him gallop up the left sideline before cutting across the field for the score.
Lester returned a punt 25 yards to put the Eagles in business at the Beulah 35 on the next drive. One play later, Lester found Sidney Mims for a 19-yard scoring strike to make the score 17-0 at the end of the first stanza.
Mims hauled in another score from Lester in the second period, this one coming from 1 yard out on fourth down, to push the margin to 24 at intermission.
Nelson Whyte, who led the Eagles with 165 yards on 18 carries, exploded for a 71-yard touchdown jaunt on MA’s first play of the second half to put the contest out of reach.
“We learned a lot about ourselves this past week. We know we have to keep fighting and good things will happen,” Whyte said.
Lester, who finished with 95 yards on the ground on eight carries and was 10 of 16 through the air for 76 yards, liked what he saw from his teammates.
“I felt like we came together tonight and believed in each other again. We were too uptight last week. We played loose and had fun,” Lester said.