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Verbena and Billingsley pass first test

Verbena (8-3) was back in the postseason after eight seasons and made the most of it with a 21-13 first round victory over on the road against J.U. Blacksher (7-4) in Uriah.

The Red Devils found themselves in the midst of a defensive battle and outlasted J.U. Blacksher for a monumental road victory.

Determination was at the heart of Verbena’s win and the major reason why they live to play another weekend of football. Known more evident than when the defense broke up a pass in the end zone to secure the final outcome with about 30 seconds left to play.

The Red Devils led 21-13 at the half, as the defense shut down J.U. Blacksher’s game plan for the entire second half.

Jacob Cleckler recovered a second half fumble while the trio of Trey McCullough, Anthony Miller and Bryan Rasberry combined for 38 tackles on the night.

Verbena’s offense struck first thanks to a 65-yard bomb from Tristan Short to Juwan Tyus. Anthony Miller’s knocked down the extra point and the Red Devils led grabbed a 7-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Hakeem Underwood answered a J.U. Blacksher score with a 49-yard touchdown run, as Verbena reclaimed the lead 14-7 midway through the second quarter.

Before the half, Dorrian Parker broke a 71-yard run for a score to give the Red Devils the lead heading into the halftime break. His touchdown would prove to be the final time either team reached the end zone in the game.

Billingsley had a long trip back home but it was well worth it as the Bears defeated Millry 53-28 in blowout fashion.

The Bears started out hitting on all cylinders as James Woods connected with Derrick Dunigan who took a screen pass 27 yards for a touchdown.

It was only the beginning for Dunigan who scored Billingsley’s next three touchdowns on the ground from 34, 5 and 17 yards respectively.

With Millry in the red zone and threatening to score before the half, James Woods stepped in front of a pass and returned it for a 90-yard touchdown. Suddenly, the Bears had a 34-22 lead and all the momentum heading into halftime.

Billingsley’s offensive explosion was not quite over, as the Bears tacked on three more touchdowns in the second half en route to a decisive victory.

Dunigan completed a workhorse effort when his team needed it most. He finished with 24 touches for 266 total yards and six touchdowns.

Thorsby lost a defensive contest of its own 17-6 on the road against Providence Christian School in Dothan.

In the loss, Kevin Mims carried the ball 18 times for 49 yards and Ken Mims had 16 attempts for 111 yards.

The Mims boys also led the way on defense as the two combined for 15 tackles and were the top two tacklers on the night for the Rebels.

Ken Mims ran for a touchdown for the only points the Rebel offense could muster.