Billingsley tops Thorsby in spring practice football game

Published 1:50 pm Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Rashand Caver (22) and Billingsley ran past Thorsby in a spring practice game Tuesday.

Rashand Caver (22) and Billingsley ran past Thorsby in a spring practice game Tuesday.

By Brandon Sumrall | Special to the Advertiser

A spring football game not only marks the quickly approaching end of the school year but also the end of spring football practice as well.

For the Thorsby Rebels and Billingsley Bears, Tuesday’s jamboree game also gave them a small glimpse at how far their teams have come this spring and how far they need to go before the fall.

Although both teams played well considering they only had seven days to prepare, both head coaches said they saw room for improvement in a game that saw the Bears win over the Rebels, 26-18.

The Bears wasted no time in showing that their running game would be a big key to their success as Thomas Nichols found the end zone on a 46-yard scamper on the game’s opening drive to give the Bears an early 6-0 lead.

The Rebels moved the ball out to their own 38 before a Darius Davis fumble set the Bears up with their second possession of the game near the mid-field stripe.

Facing a second-and-18, Nichols’ pass across the middle would be batted and fall into the hands of Thorsby’s Tyler Bowden, giving the Rebel offense their next possession at their own 22. From there, the Rebels would show off their ground game as a host of Rebel running backs would assist in a drive to be capped off on a six-yard Brandon McRae touchdown to tie the game at 6-all late in the first quarter.

Both teams exchanged scoreless possessions before the Bears found the end zone again on their fourth possession of the game on an Abram Dudley four-yard touchdown run.

Dudley also scored on the 2-point conversion to give the Bears a 14-6 lead midway through the second quarter.

With their defense forcing the Rebels to a three-and-out, the Bear offense again found the end zone with their first possession of the second half when quarterback J.T. Steele found Denzel Callens in the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown pass to give Billingsley a 20-6 lead late in the third quarter.

After turnovers for both teams, the Rebels would finish off an 82-yard drive on a 19-yard Bowden touchdown to draw the Rebels to within eight points of the lead, 20-12.

The Bears began to pound away late with their running game, moving the ball 75 yards, all on the legs of running back Brandon Jordan. A Jordan 2-yard touchdown run would give the Bears a 26-12 lead with just 2:15 left to play.

The Rebels were not ready to lie down just yet as Bowden handed off to Kevin Owens, who streaked 50 yards down the sideline for a Rebel touchdown to make the score 26-18 with just 1:18 to play.

Three runs by the Bears would bring the game to a close and give the Bears the win.

While both coaches were pleased with their teams’ efforts, both saw some things to work on over the summer to get ready for fall.

“We played a lot of younger guys late in the game, guys that we need to get a little experience to help us in the fall,” Billingsley coach Tyson McLean said.

Thorsby coach Billy Jackson said his squad needed to work on conditioning.

“One thing we can’t create is heart, but our boys have plenty of heart, so if we can come together and gel this summer, we will be just fine,” Jackson said.

Nichols led the way for the Bears on the ground with 11 carries for 118 yards and one touchdown. Jordan added 74 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.

Bowden led the way for the Rebels with three carries for 82 yards and a touchdown.