Billingsley exhibits comeback spirit in spring game

Published 5:26 pm Monday, May 16, 2016

D.J. Dunigan of Billingsley breaks tackles in the open field during a scrimmage against Montgomery Catholic on May 13. (Photo by Brandon Sumrall / Special)

D.J. Dunigan of Billingsley breaks tackles in the open field during a scrimmage against Montgomery Catholic on May 13. (Photo by Brandon Sumrall / Special)

By Brandon Sumrall | Special to the Advertiser

Billingsley’s varsity football team put a cap on spring football practice with a practice game at home against Montgomery Catholic on May 13.

The Bears got down early in the first half but battled back to end the game in a 23-all tie.

“We got everyone some playing time and took a look at some of the guys that we needed to take a better look at,” Billingsley head coach Tyson McLean said. “We had some younger guys that did a good job taking advantage of the opportunities they were given.”

One such new face in the Bears’ backfield was running back Taylor Arrington, who rushed four times for 38 yards and a touchdown.

The Bears’ opening drive stalled on fourth-and-five from the Knights’ 5-yard line where Montgomery Catholic began a 95-yard touchdown scoring drive to take a 7-0 lead with 10:50 to play in the second quarter.

After a three-and-out by both teams, a 36-yard pass from James Wood to Larry Starks along with a 19-yard run by D.J. Dunigan set up the Bears in scoring position inside the opponent’s 20-yard line but, a second-and-goal from the 7-yard line resulted in a Billingsley fumble and a touchback that gave Montgomery the ball back at their own 20.

A first down by the Knights at the Billingsley 10 ended on a fourth-and-goal at the 2-yard line and sent the game to the half with Montgomery Catholic leading 7-0.

A 37-yard field goal by Joshua Davis on the opening drive of the second half extended the Knights’ lead to 10-0 with 8:27 remaining in the third, but the Bears answered with a score of their own on their ensuing drive as a 64-yard pass from Wood to Carlton McCary set up a 5-yard touchdown run by Wood to draw the Bears to within two, 10-8.

An interception by Dunigan was returned to the Knights’ 7-yard line and two plays later McCary hauled in his second touchdown reception of the game to give Billingsley a 16-10 lead.

The Knights’ next drive ended the same way as the previous drive as Wood came up with another Billingsley interception, but a fumble brought the Bears’ ensuing drive to an end with just 25 seconds to play in the third.

With 8:20 to play in the fourth quarter, a 15-yard rushing touchdown gave the Knights the lead once again at 17-16.

A pair of scoreless drives by both teams gave the Bears one last shot to take the lead back.

A 38-yard run by Malik Callens and a 35-yard run by Arrington allowed Billingsley to claim a 23-17 lead with 3:11 to play.

The Knights took just over a minute to tie the game at 23-all with multiple plays of more than 15 yards.

Callens led the Billingsley ground game with 59 yards on two carries while Dunigan added 58 yards on nine carries.

Wood completed nine-for-15 through the air for 174 yards with one touchdown passing and one rushing.

McCary had six receptions for 109 yards and a touchdown.

“We have a lot of installing left to do before the fall,” McLean. “We will get out this summer and get our guys a little bigger, a little stronger and a little faster.”

Billingsley will look to compete in a new classification this fall as a move to Class 2A will present new challenges for the Bears.