Bears fight back to beat Isabella

Published 12:20 am Saturday, September 3, 2011

Here come the Mustangs: The Isabella football team takes the field before Friday’s game against Billingsley.

Whichever team was going to win Friday night’s regional showdown between Billingsley and Isabella was going to have to fight back from a two-touchdown deficit.

Unfortunately for Isabella, it would be the visiting Bears who came back from being down 14-0 to win the game, 34-22.

The Mustangs were hot right out of the gate. Bobby Knox took the opening kickoff back 80 yards for a touchdown to put IHS up 7-0 after a successful PAT.

On their first possession, running back Jimmie Lanier saw carry-after-carry, as he did all night long. In fact, Lanier carried the ball on Billingsley’s first six plays. Despite some long runs, the drive ultimately stalled on Isabella’s 17-yard line after an incomplete pass on 4th and 12.

The teams traded punts on their next two possessions before Isabella’s running game hit a stride behind quarterback Tyler Smith and DeRodgus Campbell.

With just seconds left in the first quarter, Smith would eventually find the end zone from 6 yards out to give the Mustangs a 14-0 advantage after a successful PAT.

The momentum would swing toward Billingsley, though, on their next possession.

Runs by Lanier and Carlos Caver and a 27-yard pass from Devion Hardy to Torrey Green set up a long 40-yard TD pass from Preston Wallace to Andrew Dudley. The Bears couldn’t make the 2-point conversion attempt, leaving the score at 14-6 with 10:22 to go before the break.

Isabella had to punt on their next possession, setting up Billingsley with great field position at the 50-yard line. More runs by Caver and Hardy preceded a 24-yard TD dash by Lanier to tighten the score to 14-12. The Bears again missed the two-point try, meaning the score was 14-12 with right at 6 minutes to go in the half.

The Bears would be able to get the ball back and on a 4th and 8 with 50 seconds before intermission, Hardy found Caver for a 24-yard TD pass. The score put Billingsley up 18-14.

The Bears scored again on their first possession after halftime after a long sprint by Hardy set up a 2-yard TD run by Lanier.

Isabella answered, though, on its next possession. Smith would put the game on his shoulder, carrying the ball on 10 out of 12 plays, capped off by his TD run just outside the goal line. He would also call his own number for a successful 2-point conversion to tighten things, 26-20 with 1:59 left in the third quarter.

Billingsley responded though with another TD drive, with run-after-run by Lanier and Caver, who would score on a 1-yard dash. A successful 2-point try by Hardy would cap scoring at the night, 34-22 with 9:49 left to go in the game.

Isabella had opportunities to score again, but couldn’t capitalize. The Mustangs got down to Billingsley’s 21-yard line but were backed up by a sack and false start penalty. IHS turned the ball over on downs after a dropped pass on 4th and 13.

The Mustangs thought they had life again after Tyler Edwards appeared to recovery a Billingsley fumble. However, the officials ruled because on an inadvertent whistle while the teams were scrambling for the ball that the down must be replayed.

The Mustangs would hold the Bears on the drive and get the ball back before Green intercepted a Smith pass to allow Billingsley to just run out the game’s last few seconds.

Billingsley improves to 2-0, 1-0 in region play and will travel to Vincent next week. Isabella’s record stands at 1-1, 0-1 in region play. The Mustangs travel to Thorsby next week in one of Chilton County’s most intense rivalry games.