We’re 48 days from the 2017 Bearcat football season. A couple days ago we started a 50-day countdown to that end by recapping the first of what a committee felt are the best 50 games — so far — to have been played in Bearcat Stadium, which, on Sept. 1, will open its gates for its 50th season.
Today we’re up at number 48, a 35-16 week 10 of Maumelle in 2012 that was the first meeting between the two schools.
Why was this game chosen? A week earlier the Bearcats pulled what many thought was an upset, but the shine would have been taken off of that with a loss in this game because it would have resulted in a miss on an opportunity to win the school’s then 31st conference title.
What do I remember? I thought the most unlikely of Booneville running backs started the game with a kickoff return for a touchdown. Jacob Jones doesn’t share that view, as he told me at a wedding a few weeks ago. I think I insulted him.
What does Jesse Frost remember? I believe it was senior night for us and our chance to claim the conference championship. I just remember that going in we knew if we won we were conference champs and had a bye in the first round of the playoffs. That was the year we only had nine seniors and we’re 1-2 after the first three games so a lot of people gave up on us. That game specifically I remember that it was the first time I had ever played against Maumelle. They had twice as many people on their team and if anyone was placing bets on paper they would have been the clear choice. They were fast and big and it might have intimidated us because I remember we were actually down at halftime.
We got into the fieldhouse and decided we weren’t going to let them beat us on our home field with all that was on the line. We came out in the second half and dominated them.
What happened? Maumelle had a 10-7 lead at the half, as Frosty said. It was also Senior Night and Jones, a senior, set off the cannon early with an 84-yard kickoff return.
After the intermission, the Bearcats scored 21 unanswered points behind Cody Harrel, who ran for 143 yards. Brandon Carter recovered a fumble on the first play of the half and Harrel cashed in with a 4-yard scoring run to cap a 34-yard drive and the Bearcats were ahead for good, 14-10.
A 14 play, 63-yard drive made it 21-10 with Harrel scoring from the 3 on another of his 21 carries. A pick-6 by Matthew Berry — 57 yard return — pushed the advantage to 28-10 with 10:35 left in the game.
Maumelle got a 90-yard Terry Rhodes to Anthony Turner touchdown pass to cut it to 28-16 but Bryon May got the onside kick and, later, a 1-yard touchdown run with 53 seconds to go and the title and a first round bye was in the bag.
For a final note, the humble Frosty didn’t bother to say he had a fumble recovery in the game as well.
Tomorrow it’s a huge night at number 47.