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Bears look for first playoff win since 1997

The Billingsley Bears on Friday have a chance to do something they haven’t done in 11 years: win a playoff football game.

Since its state championship in 1997, Billingsley has made the playoffs five times but been knocked out in the first round each time.

“I think the kids are tired of being one-and-done,” coach Kevin LeSueur said. “I think these kids are hungry now.”

There are reasons for optimism and reasons to worry.

Bad news first. Billingsley’s opponent Friday night is a Wadley team that is 9-1 and ranked No. 5 in Class 1A.

“It’s a typical Wadley team – well-coached, good up front and quick skill people,” LeSueur said. “It’s no wonder they’re ranked as high as they have been all season.

“They’re just good.”

Asked if any of the Bulldogs were particularly impressive when watching film, LeSueur responded “all of them.”

So, Bears fans might wonder, what is the good news? Simply that Billingsley is a good team, too.

At 8-2, the Bears have their best record since that championship squad. And, since a Week 1 loss to rival Maplesville, the Bears have lost only to No. 4 Linden – and that was a 1-point game.

“This year’s bunch has been getting better every week,” LeSueur said.

Before the Linden game, LeSueur asked his team if they thought they were better than half the teams in the state. Everyone agreed in the affirmative. Then, the second-year coach asked if his team thought it was better than the top 10 teams in the state. After this question, there was some hesitation.

“I told them that in order to be that good, you have to beat one of them,” LeSueur said.

Against Linden, Billingsley barely missed its first opportunity at that breakthrough, but another one waits.