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Hornets end year with victory

PLANTERSVILLE — After all the struggles first-year coach Darryl Burns has come through with his Dallas County team, playing the second half of Thursday night’s game against Billingsley in virtual darkness seemed appropriate.

“If anything could go wrong …” Burns said and smiled after the game.

The mood lighting from a blown transformer was the worst thing that happened to Burns’ Hornets after they came back to hold off Billingsley 28-19 in Dallas County’s final regular-season game.

The game was designated Senior Night to honor 12th-grade football, cheerleading and band students. Burns called his senior players “a special bunch” after the victory.

“They never quit; they stepped up,” said Burns, whose Hornets finished at 4-6 overall. “Even though we went through a lot of struggles and had a lot of bad breaks this year, they never quit.”

The two games Burns recalled specifically were the 12-6 last-second loss at Southside and the 8-0 overtime defeat to Greensboro.

“The wins and losses won’t show that, won’t reflect them,” Burns said. “This is a special bunch.”

The Hornets’ defense, which forced Billingsley’s Bears to turn the ball over on downs five times, combined with the rushing game to win Thursday.

Both teams had about the same yardage on offense — Dallas County 298, Billingsley 294. But the methods were different. The Hornets rushed for 250 yards and the Bears passed for 239.

Leading the rushing for Dallas County was Anthony Finney, a 5-11, 225-pound sophomore who carried 14 times for 82 yards and one score. Junior Nathaniel Bell followed with 79 yards on 15 carries, while junior Brandon Jackson had seven carries for 32 yards and a score.

Jackson also tossed a 17-yard halfback pass to junior DeAndre McIntyre for a score in the second quarter. Senior receiver Hunter Butts caught the other passing TD on a 25-yard pass from senior quarterback Justin McAfee with seven seconds left in the first half.

Dallas County led 20-13 at intermission after completing drives of 63, 45 and 60 yards for scores.

In the third quarter — when only two light banks of the six were working — Billingsley stopped the Hornets’ offense at the 3-yard line. Then the Bears marked 97 yards in 11 plays to pull within one point, 20-19.

Neither team could get the advantage in the fourth quarter until the Dallas County defense made the big play. With 2:56 to play, the Hornets blocked a punt and took over at the Bears’ 3.

After a defensive offsides penalty moved the ball to the 1, Bell went up the middle for the last yard. Finney converted the two-PAT for the 28-19 final.