For a game that nobody seemed to remember much about initially, this game is pretty high on our countdown -- number 21 of the best 50 games to have been played in Bearcat Stadium. The game in question was a 14-12 win over Mena in 1995.
Of course after some conversations, maybe a little video/film review, it came to mind for those involved in it. Hardly a playoff game that late September (and I really should be back at school) of course but the playoffs don't happen without it either.
Our countdown will continue through Aug. 31, one day before Bearcat Stadium opens its gates for its 50th season.
Why was this game chosen? As you read, it was a 14-12 game. What you didn't read was Booneville was 1-3 coming into the game and teetering on a losing season and with an eternal fourth quarter Mena drive it seemed destined to be another close loss.
What do I remember? The drive would not end. It was 17 plays including the field goal try to win it. That, and Glen Holt blocked it.
What does Andy Daniel remember? It was a rough week leading up to this game. We'd had a couple of close losses and had several important players battling back from injuries. This was an important week for us to win as we'd lost our first conference game. Plus, Mena was a pretty big rival at that time, right up at the top with Paris, Greenwood and Clarksville. It seems strange to me that Booneville no longer regularly plays those teams anymore given the previous rivalry.
The big thing I remember is we were pretty beat up going into the game. We really didn't play as well as I would've liked and allowed Mena back into the game. They were a young team. We probably should've beat them pretty handily in retrospect. They had several really good lineman. We dominated them early on. I remember Coach Rippy at halftime stoking our fires to hopefully put them away. I think we only had 30 something kids on the team and it seems like half of them were getting some injury treated at halftime. It seems like we went cold on offense in the second half. I remember Glen Holt had a huge hole on a reverse and I tried to get one last block to spring him loose and I ended up knocking Glen down instead. What a bonehead move on my part. Anyway, Mena ended up with a late surge and was attempting a comeback. It felt like we spent most of the fourth quarter on defense hanging on for the win when all we needed was some first downs on offense to drain the clock. Mena mounted a sustained drive late in the fourth and drove deep into our territory (it seems like they got some favorable calls/spots on fourth downs to keep the drive alive). Anyway, with a late goal line stand and us up by 2, Glen Holt was the hero when he saved the day by blocking Mena's last minute field goal attempt to preserve the victory. Mena wasn't our finest performance that year, but that goal line stand ultimately gave us the leg up to get to the playoffs.
What does Mark Smith remember? It actually was a really good game. But for some reason Coach Hyatt, Trent, and myself have barely any memory of it happening. So we watched the game film of it.
It was a typical Booneville vs Mena game. We lined up and beat on each other for four quarters. It was a very physical game. Of course most games back then were physical. Everybody ran a full house backfield with one or two tight ends and whoever was the toughest generally won. And we were tougher that night. Glen Holt came off the edge and blocked the field goal to seal the win. And in a small miracle, I made both of my PATs and we won by two. (Trent) Goff had a great game on offense and defense and (Jeremey) Thomas as usual had a good one but as I watched the film I couldn't take my eyes off our defensive line. Those guys could play. Jonathan Broniste, Matt Warrick, Joe O'Bar, and Joseph Mobley. Those were big, strong, quick, and aggressive guys and they controlled that game even though Mena was very good up front also.
What happened? I'll just fill in some gaps here. Thomas ran for 144 yards on 18 carries and scored twice to offset Greg Davis who had 27 carries for 114 yards for Mena.
That drive to the attempted winning field goal started at Mena's 14 after a clip on a punt return — Mena's only penalty of the night — and took, like I said, forever. Davis carried 10 times on that drive alone and after picking up 5 on a first and goal before two incomplete passes brought on the field goal unit, setting up Holt to be the hero.
It wasn't the first long drive of the night. Down 6-0 the Bearcats threw Davis for a yard loss on fourth and goal in the first half then proceeded to mark 98 yards. Goff had a 17 yard run on third-and-10 from the 2 and Thomas went 48 for the touchdown.
Oh, there was also a 90-yard drive by the Bearcats that took another 15 plays eating most of the second quarter with Thomas scoring again for a 14-6 lead. A 77-yard pass play cut it to 14-12.
You'd think Goff would remember this: he completed a couple of key passes to his tight end, Erik Chase to go with his six tackles and an interception. Also defensively it was Daniel with eight solo and two assists.
Tomorrow we'll crack the top 20 with an old school rivalry.