Leader Blues

Monday, October 13, 2008

SPORTS > > Billies club Badgers

Leader sports editor

Beebe has lost just five times in John Shannon’s season-and-a-half, but the Badger head coach probably has never looked quite as stunned as he did on Friday night.
Maybe he was wondering how in the world Monticello lost two games this season after the Billies put on a dazzling array of weaponry in a convincing 41-14 win over the Badgers on Homecoming at “Bro” Irwin Stadium.
Ty Ferrell, fresh off a high ankle sprain, looked fully recovered in rushing for 209 yards and two touchdowns on just 17 carries. Ferrell also threw for a score. But it wasn’t just Ferrell putting on a show. Running back Lance Ridgell went for 122 more on the ground as the Billies ran over and around a Beebe defense whose hallmark is toughness and physical play.
“They just whipped our butt, bottom line,” said Shannon, whose Badgers fell to 4-2, 2-1 in the 5A-Southeast. “In every phase of the game. There’s nothing else you can say about it.”
The Billies (4-2, 3-0) started the season in the Spread and quickly fell to 0-2. That’s when head coach Van Paschal decided to return to the Double Wing attack that had been in place during his tenure at the school. That appeared to be the right decision as the Billies unleashed a combination of misdirection, speed and power to pile up 446 yards on the ground — 468 overall.
“I thought it would be a low-scoring game,” Paschal said. “But the last three weeks, we’ve played real well. Ferrell has missed almost two weeks. He came back to practice on Wednesday. It was a game-time decision with him tonight.”
Defensively, the Billies were every bit as impressive, limiting Beebe senior fullback Sammy Williams to less than a 100 yards for the first time this season. Williams managed just 99 yards on 24 carries. The Badgers finished with 302 total yards. Purcell added 60 yards on seven carries.
Monticello came off the bus ready to play, embarking on a 14-play scoring drive on their first possession, converting a pair of fourth downs along the way, to take a quick 7-0 lead.
The Billies put 10 in the box on Beebe’s first play from scrimmage, but an option play to Brandon Purcell was good for 36 yards. Beebe had half a dozen big plays on the night, but it wasn’t nearly enough. The drive stalled and Monticello struck quickly, going 67 yards in five plays with Ridgell running a counter 36 yards to paydirt and a 14-0 lead, still in the opening period.
“We knew they were good,” Shannon said. “But we were getting better each and every week and figured we could match them and be as physical, and more physical than they were. But we weren’t. And that’s the disappointing thing, we lost the hitting game tonight and that’s suppose to be our trademark.”
Beebe’s offensive line finally began to open up some gaps on its next drive and Williams and Purcell took advantage as the Badgers marched 72 yards in nine plays to get right back into the ball game at 14-7 less than three minutes into the second period. Williams went through a gaping hole from eight yards for the score.
“We were trying to find the right scheme and (Monticello) kept mixing things up on us,” Shannon said. “We finally found it, but the bottom line is, they just out-hit us, and we didn’t respond.”
But that was as close as the Badgers would get as three minutes later, Ferrell optioned around the right end 44 yards for the score to make it 21-7.
After Williams fumbled on the first play of Beebe’s ensuing possession, Ferrell found Brishen Matthews for a 22-yard touchdown. The Billies’ second score in 16 seconds opened up a commanding 28-7 lead midway through the second quarter.
The Badgers mounted a drive in response, using a 50-yard Roger Glaude-to-Luke Gardner pass play to reach the 21. But the drive stalled and Beebe went into the locker room down three touchdowns.
The Badgers then did the worst thing possible to open up the second half: They embarked on an 8:15-play drive, which not only ate up valuable time, but came up empty as well.
Monticello took over at its own 5 and began a march that would all but put the game away, going 95 yards and eating up eight-and-a-half minutes to take a 35-7 lead.
Williams capped off a 7-play, 62-yard drive with a 1-yard plunge to make it 35-14 with 4:14 left in the contest.
“We could have tackled better, run better, and blocked better,” Shannon said. “We just didn’t play very good at all and when you don’t play well and you’re playing a team that good, you get your butt kicked. That’s what happened tonight.”
Beebe will try to bounce back next week at McClellan.