Today we're going back to a magical, though we didn't know it at the time, game in 1986. The opponent was Waldron, who makes its first appearance on the list of the top games of all time at Bearcat Stadium.
We're at number 44 as we are counting them down what a committee thought were the 50 greatest games — so far — to have been played in Bearcat Stadium, which, on Sept. 1, will open its gates for its 50th season. As stated number 44 features Waldron, who was handed a 12-0 loss.
Why was this game chosen? As it turned out this game decided a conference championship which set up the playoff run that ended in War Memorial Stadium with the school's first title.
What do I remember? For the second day in a row, not much. If I gave you my birth-date, you'd realize I was 22 that year and although I didn't all break ties with BHS football, my Friday night lights were usually neon.
What does Clint Watson remember? It was homecoming (Judy Baker was your queen) and Tommy and Toby Parker were coming to town with a pretty good offense led by the QB, Tommy Parker. It was definitely a defensive game. Our defense had started to come into its own. We had to win out after losses to Huntsville and Ozark to even have a chance at the conference title. We shut Waldron down and won the game which in turn gave us a co-championship with Waldron.
What happened? The 1986 Bearcats were deadly when anyone kicked off to them. Especially dangerous for opponents was Rusty McDonald when it was him getting the football. To open the game that late October night, it was indeed McDonald who took a hand off after the Tommy Parker kickoff, and 80 yards later it was a 6-0 game.
It stayed that way a while as the defenses bent a little — not much — then came up big plays, like, ironically considering today's world, Ricky May being stripped of the football. Don't pick on May too much, the sophomore would be the leading rusher with all of 66 yards.
Coming out of halftime Waldron took the kickoff and crossed midfield before being forced to punt. The ball rolled dead at the 20 and when the Bulldogs got the ball back the third quarter had 26 seconds left. The drive included a 17-yard Frank Johnson to Clint Watson to get to the 27 before Johnson took it in on third-and-goal from the 8.
The defense made sure the shutout stood. McDonald finished with 10 tackles and five assists, Barry Catlett had eight tackles and four assists, Tony Travis had six and three and Ernie Thornell 4 and 7. Johnson threw for 66 yards on 5-12-2 passing.
The game left Booneville in a three-way tie with Waldron and Subiaco at that point of the season. I'm pretty sure I've never typed anything like that, ever.
Tomorrow it’s a beatdown of epic proportions at number 43.