Ellwood falls to Billingsley, playoff chances hurt

Published 12:14 am Friday, October 11, 2013

By Brandon Sumrall

The Clanton Advertiser

Ellwood Christian’s playoff hopes took a big hit Thursday night when the Eagles fell to Billingsley 38-12 in a key Class 1A, Region 3 contest.

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The Eagles fell into a big hole early, with Billingsley finding the endzone on its second possession of the night and never looking back. The Bears’ Thomas Nichols scored on a one-yard touchdown run and Billingsley added a two-point conversion when Nichols threw to Telvin Tyus for an 8-0 lead.

Later Billingsley added to their lead when Nichols found Dalton Davis in the end zone for a 26-yard touchdown pass with 3:04 left in the first half. A successful two-point conversion made the score 16-0.

Ellwood showed some fight on the ensuing drive, going 61 yards and scoring on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Jalen Furlow to Rayford Mitchell to pull within 16-6 of the Bears at the half.

The Eagles weren’t done though.

After allowing a deep drive by the Bears on the first possession of the second half, Ellwood forced a fumble that Mitchell returned 97 yards for a touchdown.

A failed two-point try left the score at 16-12 early in the third quarter, but the Eagles seemed to have momentum on their side.

Both offenses stalled on the next two possessions, leaving the score at 16-12 going into the final quarter.

The decisive fourth quarter was all Billinglsey, as the Bears turned it up a notch, scoring on three consecutive possessions.

First, Nichols connected with Keyjuan Goodson for 41 yards and a touchdown to make the score 22-12 Billingsley.

After a three-and-out by the Eagles, Terrance Nolen took a Nichols hand off 65 yards for a touchdown to extend Billingsley’s lead to 30-12.

An Eagles fumble on the ensuing kickoff gave the Bears the ball back at the Eagles 26-yard line. From there, a Tommy Williams 24-yard run set Nolen up for a two-yard touchdown.

Nichols connected with Hunter Neely for two to bring the score to its final standing of 38-12.

“We give up two scores on turnovers, but our defense has turned the corner and played really well the past couple of weeks,” Billingsley coach Tyson McLean said.

Nichols led the way for the Bears with 209 all-purpose yards including two passing touchdowns and one rushing TD.

Furlow led the way for the Eagles with 46 yards on 10 carries.

Billingsley moves to 3-2 in area play with the win, putting the Bears in good shape to make the playoffs. Keith and Akron, who like the Bears and Eagles came into tonight tied for third in the region standings, play Friday night.

Next week Ellwood Christian will take on Sunshine. The Eagles will likely need to defeat the Tigers and Akron in consecutive weeks, while getting help from others in the area to make the playoffs.