There was a reason this one was close.
Big brothers were watching so of course we're going back to 1984 today. Also watching were little brothers, parents, friends, media, and so forth when the Bearcats eliminated Prairie Grove in a hard fought game to open the playoffs that November.
We continue today a countdown of what a committee thinks are 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.
Why was this game chosen? Booneville was 10-0 for the second straight regular season and Prairie Grove was 5-5 but the pendulum had been tipped, perhaps as far as in the Tigers' favor. But a testament to their heart and determination allowed the Bearcats to pull out a win at home. They lost on the road the following week to end the number one what-if season of all time.
What do I remember? There were two field goals in the game and how often has that happened? It hadn't then, at least not in a playoff game and they were crucial. There were some alleged shenanigans that decimated the Bearcat roster but I'll let someone else speak to that.
What does Michael Johnson remember? I really don't remember much about that game, but more about the situation at the end of that year. As you you know we had a few players suspended because of a disciplinary matter and we were not at full strength. We had several linemen missing so we had to shuffle some folks around. I believe Lance Brown moved from linebacker to defensive line and we had to play a sophomore at linebacker.
Even with those limitations we beat a pretty good Prairie Grove team 13-0. We were fairly salty defensively with eight shutouts that year. It wasn't a pretty game, but it was a win.
What happened? Johnson is being modest I'm sure. He had a 43-yard reception that set up Danny Wayne Morris's 26-yard field goal to make it 3-0 with 10:37 left in the first half. By the way, even in their depleted state, that play was more than the 36 yards Prairie Grove got all night.
An 80-yard drive on their first possession of the second half gave the Bearcats breathing room at 10-0. Okay it wasn't as much of a drive as a quick strike. After moving from their 20 to 34-yard line, Robbie Jones went 66 yards for a touchdown.
It stayed 10-0 until Johnson's second interception of the night — the first was in the end zone to preserve the 3-0 lead — set up a 30-yard field goal by Morris to make it 13-0 with 5:52 to go.
Tomorrow it’s a playoff battle between 12-0 and 11-1.