Okay I'm going to throw this out there. I didn't cause this game to land here, but since my class is in town this weekend, and this game comes from our senior year, I kinda like the timing.
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 35 we have another one-point win, 8-7 over Greenwood in October of 1981.
Why was this game chosen? Again, not because of my close affiliation with it, but because we were hitting the stretch run in 1981 when the Dogs came to town. After a 1-3 start -- with the losses in succession -- the Bearcats had battled back to even their record and, with the correct set of weird circumstances, still had a playoff shot though they were reduced to sitting back and scoreboard watching while playing AAA teams like the Dogs.
Doug Scheel's bunch came up with the win and Scheel was never under .500 again.
What do I remember? I can still see how wide open Mark Merrill was on the 66-yard touchdown pass. If ever anyone was convinced Booneville would run the ball it was Greenwood on that play, that night. Guess again. Like I said I was a senior so I remember a little more but let's just say I'm glad there wasn't an internet and cell phones with cameras back in that day.
What does Thomas Brown remember? The only thing I remember about that game was the two-point conversion. After we scored the play was brought into the huddle. Coach called for a quick pitch left. I was at the tackle position on the left side. I knew that I would pull around the end and take out the cornerback. At the snap I pulled around the end and met the cornerback at the goal line. I drove him all the way out of the end zone. I do not remember who had carried the ball but he was untouched into the endzone.
That play has stayed with me all these years because with the game on the line they called my number to clear the way. That play was the difference between victory and defeat. Victory feels so good.
What happened? It was a punt fest for a while — no first downs in the first quarter — although Greenwood gained 8 yards on the game's first snap, Clyde Diamond had a sack to force a punt. Phillip Kauffman also recovered a fumble in Bearcat territory in the quarter.
A Curtis Richardson to Kevin Jones pass set up a second quarter scoring run of 8 yards by Richardson and with the point after it was 7-0.
It stayed that way until Benny Sanderson hit Merrill for the touchdown with 6:45 left and Scheel, as Brown said, elected to go for two. It was Rick Musa who was behind Brown by the way.
Richardson threw for 163 yards. Sanderson was 3-of-8 for 106 in the game and Doug Shott ran for 54 yards as the total yardage was 222 yards for Greenwood to 221 for the Bearcats.
Tomorrow my back is better than your back at 34.