Bears, Mustangs battle for first place in region

Published 2:41 pm Thursday, October 2, 2014

By Coe Robbins | Special to the Advertiser

The battle for first place in Class 1A, Region 3 will be settled on the field this Friday as Isabella clashes with Billingsley for the first time since 2011.

The Mustangs (4-0, 2-0 in region play) boast a spectacular defense that has allowed only 31 points combined through four games, including two shutouts, while the Bears (3-2, 2-0) have scored 108 points combined in three of their last four games.

Isabella coach Scott Booth said that while players, coaches and fans know the importance of Friday’s game, region standings are not stressed with the team.

“Obviously, we know it’s a big region game,” Booth said. “We do mention that, but we try not to dwell on it too much.”

Billingsley head coach Tyson McLean said in order for them to win on Friday, one key factor must be to dominate the trenches.

“It’s going to come down to blocking,” McLean said. “We are going to have to do our best in executing blocks from an offensive standpoint. It all comes down to the offensive and defensive line.”

Booth said the Mustangs will have to match Billingsley’s physicality despite a size disadvantage.

Billingsley uses a host of running backs, McLean said. Senior running back Terrance Nolen leads the team in rushing with 197 yards and two touchdowns.

“The rushing game is what we do as a team,” McLean said. “We use a good number of guys, and we know we have to do well running the ball in order for us to have a chance to win the game.”

The Bears are coming off an impressive 42-0 win over Prattville Christian a week ago and recorded their first shutout of the season. Dalton Davis had a huge night, going 8-of-11 passing for 185 yards to go along with 113 yards on the ground.

Defensively, Billingsley is led by Derrick Dunigan, who averages just over nine tackles per game. Senior Rashaud Caver has three sacks in four games.

Isabella is 4-0 to start a season for only the second time in the past 10 years—with the other occasion being last year.

IHS is led defensively by senior linebacker Chase Pate who has recorded 9.7 tackles per game through three games. Senior Jason Buchanan is averaging 1.3 sacks per game, and senior Jacob Carroll has four interceptions through three games.

The Mustangs’ rushing attack is potent with senior Tyler Smith, who has accumulated 427 yards through three games and is averaging 8.1 yards per carry.

“Defensively, we are going to have to tackle,” McLean said. “We are especially going to have to wrap our arms around that Smith kid.”

The series dates back all the way to 1950. Isabella looks to snap a lengthy losing streak to Billingsley, which has won the last seven contests including the last meeting in 2011.

“You know it’s going to be a tough game for us,” Booth said. “We just want to go out and play our best game to date and let the score take care of itself.”

–Managing editor Stephen Dawkins contributed to this report.

Who will win the Billingsley-Isabella game?

  • Isabella (61%, 54 Votes)
  • Billingsley (39%, 34 Votes)

Total Voters: 88

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Also this week

•Valley (3-2) at Chilton Co. (1-5) (homecoming)

•Jemison (2-3) at Helena (3-2)

•Vincent (3-2) at Thorsby (3-2)

•Fruitdale (3-2) at Verbena (3-2) (homecoming)

•Chilton Christian (2-3) at Marion

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