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Devils hold off improved Rebels

The result of Friday night’s Verbena-Thorsby game was the same as one year ago.

The story of the game, though, was completely different. Verbena shut out the Rebels, 28-0, to begin a winless 2008 campaign for Thorsby. 2009 might be different, though, judging by the fight the home team put up Friday in a 14-6 loss.

“I can’t be more proud of them; they have absolutely sold out for our program,” Thorsby coach Billy Jackson said, and even the Red Devils agreed they played a better team this time around.

“Thorsby played us off the field,” Verbena coach Mike Harris said.

But the visitors took advantage of one crucial mistake to earn the win. Thorsby trailed 8-6 at halftime, seemed to be getting the better of Verbena and was set to receive the kickoff to begin the second half.

The momentum shifted dramatically as Verbena’s Jeremy Creger recovered a fumble on the kickoff, quarterback Brad Boswell connected with Christian Coston for 17 yards to the 1-yard line on the next play, and then Kelly Lucas punched it in.

The 2-point conversion attempt failed, but Verbena had built a lead Thorsby couldn’t threaten.

Harris, meanwhile, was glad to see his team take advantage of a miscue instead of make another one itself.

“We had enough mistakes to lose four ballgames,” he said.

Thorsby struck first when, after Verbena’s regular punter had already been ejected from the game, Dustin Wilson blocked a punt by the back-up, Creger, with just under 4 minutes left in the first quarter. Phillip Hensley scooped up the football around the 5-yard line and ran it in. The point-after failed.

Verbena took the lead for good with 9:59 remaining in the second quarter on an 11-yard run by Kelly Dorsett. Kelly Lucas, who was Verbena’s leading rusher with 70 yards on 16 carries, ran in the 2-point conversion.