Bears gaining momentum for region stretch run

Published 8:35 pm Thursday, September 25, 2014

A glance at the Billingsley football team’s results this season might suggest a series of ups and downs so far.

The Bears (2-2 overall, 2-0 in Class 1A, Region 3 play) opened the season with a disheartening 54-0 loss to Maplesville.

Billingsley took a 32-14 win over region foe Loachapoka in Week 2, fell to Gordo the next week, and then improved to 2-0 in region play with last week’s 34-14 win over Verbena.

Instead of a roller coaster ride, however, Billingsley coach Tyson McLean hopes his team is on a steady incline.

“I hope we’re getting a little better every week,” McLean said. “That’s our goal.”

A closer look at the Bears’ performance indicates that might just be the case.

The season couldn’t have started much worse, as BHS committed seven turnovers and never had a chance against Maplesville.

“That probably has a lot to do with them,” McLean said about the second-ranked Red Devils.

Several Billingsley players were seeing their first starting assignments, or even their first varsity experience.

“I don’t know if they were really quite ready for a team like Maplesville–that runs it at you and is physical,” McLean said.

The Bears rebounded with the win over Loachapoka, and even in the Week 3 loss to Gordo, improvement was apparent.

Gordo, which competes in Class 3A, is 4-0 on the year, with two of those wins coming by at least 33 points.

“I thought we played well against Gordo, considering their talent,” McLean said. “It was a good test. At times, we played well in the other two games. We got good leads, and maybe some guys got complacent. We need to go on and finish games off.”

For McLean, finding consistency is the key to continued improvement.

“We tend to follow up a good play with a bad play,” he said. “We need more consistency with our line blocking, with our quarterback making the right reads, with our running backs pressing the right hole and with our receivers catching the ball.”

This week brings another non-region challenge for BHS as Prattville Christian Academy visits.

The Panthers are 1-4 on the season, with the win coming against B.B. Comer, but McLean cautioned not to take the Class 3A squad lightly based on its record.

“They’ll be fundamentally sound,” McLean said. “They do things right. They don’t have as many wins as I’m sure they’d like to have, but they probably look at this, as a 3A team, as an opportunity to play down to 1A. They probably are looking at us as someone they can get a win against.”

A win over PCA would reinforce the belief that Billingsley has continuously improved since the beginning of the season and provide some confidence and momentum as the Bears head into a stretch of three consecutive region games (at Isabella on Oct. 3, versus Notasulga on Oct. 10 and versus Autaugaville on Oct. 24) that will likely determine the team’s playoff future.

“We know that we’ve got to win those region games, those are the most important, but anytime you can get a win, it’s a positive,” McLean said.

The game could come down to the play in the trenches.

“It’s cliche, but if we can block them, we’ll be successful,” McLean said. “If we can get off blocks on defense, we can be successful. If we can be more consistent, we’ll be OK.”

Also this week

•Isabella (3-0, 2-0) at Central-Coosa (0-4, 0-2)

•Huntsville Christian at Chilton Christian (1-3) (5 p.m.)

•Chilton Co. (1-4, 0-3) at Marbury (2-2, 0-2)

•Maplesville (4-0, 3-0) at Tanner (4-1, 3-0)

•Winterboro (2-2, 1-2) at Thorsby (2-2, 1-1) (homecoming)

•Verbena (2-2, 1-2) at Ellwood Christian (3-1, 2-1) (Thursday)

–All games begin at 7 p.m. unless noted otherwise