Second round provides second chances

Published 6:47 pm Thursday, November 13, 2008

It’s rematch Friday for the only two local teams still alive in the playoffs. Isabella is making a return trip to Reform to take on the Tornadoes of Pickens County while Billingsley revisits Linden. These are two big hurdles for our teams, but if you want to go all the way, you’re going to have to play the best teams.

Pickens County and Linden are among the best in Class 2A and 1A, respectively. These two games in the regular season were completely different even though the end result was the same – a loss.

Billingsley feels they should have beaten Linden. The Bears missed a pair of extra points that would have given them the win. This game was probably the turning point in the season for the Bears. They weren’t intimidated by highly ranked Linden, and Billingsley hasn’t lost a game since then, including a big road win over Wadley in the first round of the playoffs.

The Bears know Linden, and they know they can beat them. The key is finding a way to do that. Jamar Hopson must have another outstanding game to get the win, but the Bears must have someone else step up and make some plays.

With as good as Hopson is, Linden will eventually find a way to stop him.

Isabella, however, didn’t fare so well in its regular season matchup. They struggled trying to slow down Pickens County, and the Mustangs didn’t have as much success on offense either.

Brian Donovan must have a career night tonight, and Isabella must control the clock. Their offense might be the best defense against the big-play Pickens County offense.

Defensively, the Mustangs must force the Tornadoes to drive the ball. No easy scores or else it could be a repeat of what happened during the regular season.

If Isabella does give up a cheap score, they cannot afford to get intimidated. When you play a team as good as Pickens, it is almost impossible to stop them completely. You just have to go back on the field and try to make some good plays on offense.

The bright side for both of these teams is that if either one wins tonight, they should likely host next week. I hope they will both make it.

Good luck to both Isabella and Billingsley.