Bears punch playoff ticket

Published 10:21 am Wednesday, October 24, 2012

At the beginning of every season, each team in the state has one goal: win the state championship in their respective class.

After that, the season is broken down into smaller goals. One of which, obviously, is making the playoffs.

The Billingsley Bears have accomplished that, following a win over Akron Oct. 19.

It was a big night, one full of possible distractions. For starters, it was Homecoming and Senior Night, not to mention a postseason berth was riding on the outcome.

Coach Tyson McLean said it was obvious the focus of his team wasn’t entirely on the game.

“To start, we fumbled the opening kickoff…and fell behind early,” he said.

He also said the size of Akron’s players may have thrown the Bears off a tad.

“We knew they’d be big,” he said. “But we played better in the second half. It’s a challenge to put stuff behind you [and focus on coming back].”

The second half proved to be the turning point for the Bears. Two interceptions late sealed a 18-13 win, thus earning a playoff spot.

“It’s big; only half get to go,” he said of the postseason. “It’s one of our goals every year, and to progress from there.”

The win was keyed by sophomore Terrance Nolen, who rushed for 112 yards and the team’s only three touchdowns on 23 carries. The postseason berth will mean more practice time and experience for young Bears like Nolen, who will be better for the accomplishment for years to come.

McLean said once a team gets to the playoffs, each game is like a season of its own.

“We have to concentrate on us,” he said. “We have to play up to our best. We can’t take any plays off. We sometimes play up to the level of our competition, instead of up to our best.”