Today we start the second half of our countdown of the best 50 games to have been played in Bearcat Stadium. Cracking the top 25 is a 43-32 win over a stubborn middle of the pack Mena team in week 10 of 2011.
Why was this game chosen? Two words: Anthony Napier. Napier had six touchdowns, becoming only the second Bearcat to do it at home, and third overall. So why did this one outrank the other one at the Home of Champions? Because every home Bearcat's touchdown this night was by number 7 and because every one of them was necessary as the lead changed five times during the game. Oh, and it was win number 650 for the school.
What do I remember? Taking stats like a mad man I knew Anthony was having a monster night, but then that could be said of almost any game that season as 30+ carry games were beginning to be the norm late in the year. He carried 34 times in this one.
What does Anthony Napier remember? The Mena game was fun, I mean it just kept going. The fans were going wild and there was so much intensity that I didn't even realize I had six touchdowns until someone told me after the game. My lineman were on point all four quarters. Without them, tying that record wouldn't have been possible.
This one deserves a second remember who we asked dad what he thought. I was thinking about how proud I was that Anthony scored more TDs than I did Against Mena. (Andy had five in 1985). Anthony had I also remembered Anthony stiff arming some of the guys in the back field and putting them flat on their back. Very proud Dad moment.
What happened? Mena jumped in front by returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown. It was Bradley Crawford going 88 for the 6-0 lead. The home Bearcats then drove 63 yards to Napier's 4-yard run and a Taylor Hyatt PAT for a 7-6 lead.
Mena went back in front on an Austin Warren to Crawford pass but the PAT was no good again and it stayed 12-7. Warren threw for 303.
A 5-yard Napier touchdown and a pass from Hyatt to Chad Simpson for the two gave the Bearcats a 15-12 lead, with 8:33 left in the first half.
After forcing a punt that went into the end zone, an 80-yard drive Booneville drive opened some breathing room. Napier scored from the 6 in a drive that included a 33-yard Jacob Jones run — Jones ran for a career high 123 himself — to make it 22-12.
Mena cut it to 22-19 on a Warren to Landon Thacker 31-yard pass on a fourth down and it was a three point game at the half with all of the points attributable to extra points.
Napier got a 5-yard run to start the second half and it was back to 29-19 before Warren and Malachi McGee teamed up for a 69-pass to cut it back to 29-25 after another missed PAT.
With 2:18 to go in the third quarter Mena went back in front, 32-29 on a 5-yard Warren run to cap a 78-yard drive.
After reaching the 1 on the next possession Booneville had an offside penalty but Napier scored from the 6 anyway and it was 36-32 for the fifth lead change.
A third down pass breakup by Simpson caused a Mena punt on the next possession. Anthony Flores blocked it and Brandon Carter recovered to set up Napier's record tying sixth touchdown from the 4 to make it 43-32 with 4:12 left.
Cody Harrel picked off a Warren pass to prevent any late game heroics.
Tomorrow we'll climb up the countdown a spot with a playoff game that, stop me if you've head this, Booneville couldn't win, at number 24.