PCA beats Billingsley, Bears receive benchmark

Published 10:49 am Saturday, August 26, 2023

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By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

Billingsley High School opened its new campaign for the second consecutive season against Prattville Christian Academy on Aug. 25 that saw the Bears fall 34-7 on the road.

In the first half, Billingsley quarterback Landon Jones found Kyle Boice for a 34-yard touchdown connection to get the Bears on the board. The score stood at 7-7 before PCA ripped off a punt return for a touchdown to take the 14-7 lead into the halftime break.

Landon Jones was 4-for-10 for 58 yards and Gilmore’s touchdown reception was his lone catch of the game.

Billingsley had two first-half fourth down turnovers near midfield as well.

“Early in the game, you could tell being the first game of the year the flow was not good, but after that second series the offense got to moving really well,” Billingsley coach Lanny Jones said. “We were one special team’s play away from being tied at the half. We still felt good, and we felt like if we could get a stop and momentum that we could find ourselves in position to tie the game up and play the second half with them.”

Coming out of halftime, the Bears put PCA in a fourth down and long situation. A blown coverage assignment on the play gave PCA a long TD pass to extend their lead to 21-7, and they managed the deficit the rest of the way.

“With a special teams breakdown, coverage breakdowns and stuff like that, that is just some of that stuff that gets you in week one,” Lanny Jones said. “They did some things we have not seen before like double-edge pressure stuff, and that is difficult to try to fix in a game when we have not worked on it (before).

PCA gave Billingsley a five-man box most of the game, and running back Kaden Cotton took advantage of that accounting for 119 of the 215 yards of offense for the Bears on the ground. Cotton carried the ball 15 times.

Lanny Jones said during the preseason that this game would be a great benchmark for his team to see where they stand early in the season. The Bears also have an early bye week next week, a welcome sight to Lanny Jones who will take the opportunity to fix some things PCA threw at them that they did not work on in fall camp.

“I think it is going to give us a chance to work on those small detail things that will make us better,” Lanny Jones said. “You feel like you are prepared for a lot of things (going into the season), but sometimes they throw those two or three things in there that you have not seen, and the bye allows you to go back and work on it.”

Nathan Gilmore led the Billingsley defense with eight tackles against PCA, and Rylan Thomas and Colby Green each had seven.

After the Bears bye week, they will return to action and jump right into AHSAA Class 1A Region 4 play hosting Calhoun High School on Sept. 8 at 7 p.m.