Bryson May scored three first half touchdowns and the Booneville Bearcats took care of Waldron 35-7 on homecoming night at Bearcat Stadium Friday.
May scored on runs of 20, 4 and 16 yards and was done after eight carries for 70 yards when the latter one gave the Bearcats (4-0, 1-0 Conference 4A-4) a 35-0 lead with 6:31 left in the first half.
Waldron (0-4, 0-1) won the opening coin flip but Garren Carpenter and Kolten Wright informed the game official they would be deferring their reception choice until the second half. That would be a mistake and Booneville would end up on defense first anyway.
Matt Berry fielded Igor Maschado’s opening kickoff at the Bearcat 4-yard line and after breaking a couple tackles, was gone for a 6-0 lead. A snap issue sent Landon Vance scrambling and ultimately kept it a 6-0 game.
Both teams ran three plays on their initial offensive possessions. Justin Shackleford and James Ray combined on a zero yardage play, Bulldog quarterback Marshall Ingle fumbled but got it back and Ingle threw a first down.
After a Bulldog punt that included the first of 11 Bearcat penalties Josh Smith ran for 46, Berry got back to the line of scrimmage and May went 20 for a touchdown. May then added the extra two to make it 14-0 just 2:41 into the game.
Berry returned Waldron’s second punt to the Bulldog 46 but Cody Harrel fumbled on the next play.
Any sulking was short-lived because Joseph Saldana forced a Bulldog fumble on the next play and Shackleford recovered for the Bearcats.
Harrel then hit Berry for 10 and four plays later May converted a fourth down. It took four more plays but May capped the drive with a 4-yard burst and with the Vance PAT it was 21-0.
Darren Shaeffer shanked the kickoff and Grant Wiggins recovered the ball at the Bulldog 39.
Harrel then threw a couple of incomplete passes — his only two of the game (4-of-6 for 44 yards) — but ran for 16 yards and a first down on third down. The quarterback then hit Smith who won a collision near the end zone and scored from the 18 to make it 28-0 with 39 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Booneville made it 35-0 on their next possession, which included completions to Smith and Saldana before May went 16 yards to make it 35-0.
Waldron turned the ball over on downs at their own 28 but the Bearcats couldn’t pick up a first down and a 35-yard field goal try by Vance was well short.
The Bulldogs put together a pair of first downs on the ensuing possession but would fumble – Shackleford recovered his second fumble – 27 seconds before halftime.
Fumbles were the theme of the second half as well. Michael Springs recovered a fumble that stopped Waldron’s first drive of the half but Trever Jones recovered one that did the same to Booneville’s first second half possession.
Waldron’s second possession with the clock running due to the Arkansas Activities Association’s sportsmanship – mercy – rule also ended in a fumble with Dayton Mizell recovering for the Bearcats.
The fourth fumble of the half gave the ball back to Waldron with Cody Fannick recovering for the Bulldogs with 2:58 left in the third quarter.
Waldron got on the board with a short 45-yard drive after that fumble. Ber Change scored the touchdown from the 8 and with Machado’s point after it was 35-7 with 10:41 to play.
Booneville’s offense then kept the ball over nine minutes with Shannon VanNortrick, Sam Cooney and Jimmy Scott accounting for the yardage between the Bearcat 41 and the Bulldog 16 with 1:25 remaining.
The three game home stand now over the Bearcats will be on the road for the second time this season but they don’t have far to go as they venture to Subiaco.
The Trojans (2-2, 0-1) opened conference play last week by getting drummed 49-14 by Pottsville.