Today we continue what a committee thinks are the 50 greatest games — so far — to have been played in Bearcat Stadium, because on Sept. 1, the stadium will open its gates for its 50th season.
For number 36 That Team Up North makes its third appearance on the countdown, that's one in five if you're scoring along at home. This one, from 1991 game, was a razor-thin 15-14 win over.
Why was this game chosen? Well hello there Team Up North. Welcome to the Home of Champions. Flashback to 1991 when the Bearcats needed a win over Ozark to keep a title run on course. Ozark did what they could to derail that, but it wasn't enough.
What do I remember? The 75-yard run by Randy May came after a near disastrous bobble that, considering how many turnovers the Bearcats had survived was nothing short of miraculous.
What does James Lee remember? A couple things I remember about the Ozark game is that it was extremely cold for an October Friday night. We were in a must win situation to stay alive for a conference title. We knew it was going to be a close one like most games against the Hillbillies.
Ozark had gone for 2 on both of their touchdowns and made it on one of them. Coach Beckham stayed on Doug Powell and I about staying loose that turned out to be a good thing because Powell somehow snatched a wild snap out of the air on a PAT that would be the difference.
What happened? The sloppy play by a team trying to win a conference title started with a fumbled kickoff and it still took the Hillbillies to go the 19 yards to take an 8-0 lead. Johnny Cocker had the TD and the conversion on a pass from Kiley Moore.
Ozark had the ball seven times in the first half, starting six times in Booneville territory, with an average start of the Booneville 39, yet they scored only one more time thanks to a couple big plays from Jerald Baker and Sean Maxwell.
After a Chad Mitchell fumble recovery at the Bearcat 25, May scored the next play. John Schlinker had the 2 to tie it at 8-8.
Schlinker had a huge night with a interception that led to the game clinching run by Joey Ballin, and he also would put the Bearcats in a position to win it.
With 1:57 left in the half Moore threw a ball that was tipped but caught by Steve Simpson anyway for a 29-yard touchdown and it was 14-8 Ozark.
Did I mention Schlinker? He hit Steve Canada for 38 and a touchdown in the third quarter to tie it. Then Powell, a three-year holder, somehow got the high snap in place for Lee to add the eventual game winner.
May ran for 135 yards by the way and went over 1,000 for the year, John Weaver had 16 tackles and Eric McConnell 10.
Tomorrow a win by the arm at 34.