At first glance number 12 on our countdown of the 50 greatest games in the history of Bearcat Stadium, which on Sept. 1 will open its gates for its 50th season, doesn't seem up to par. Trust me, it is.
We're going all the way back to the third season of the stadium — 1970 — for a game that wrapped up a conference title for the Bearcats, a 38-18 win over Paris.
Why was this game chosen? Like I said, a 20-point win doesn't scream great game until you realize it was 18-8 Paris at the half before 30 unanswered points made it a rout and a conference title, propelling the Bearcats into their first playoff game since the postseason had been re-established following an 18-year absence the previous season.
What does Johnny "Dude" Davis remember? Coach Bradley didn't get real upset. He griped us out and said if we win this we win the district title. We had only lost to Dardanelle, but we had beaten Ozark and Danville, on their field.
(In the first half) we had our heads up our butt, no excuse. Really I think we realized we were blowing a chance to win district.
We had run the Wishbone all year and we still lined up in it but we ran a couple of different plays out of it, a quick pitch to the halfback and I would come around under the arms of the fullback, but sometimes I would give it to him. (Paris) didn't stop it the entire second half. Paris was not ready for that. They had not seen it on film.
If we had played the first half like we played the second half it wouldn't have even been a game.
But Paris had a good team. They had two players, Jim Wright, their quarterback, and Mike Whitman, a big lineman, who went on to play college football at UCA.
What happened? It was really a case of deja vu. Three years earlier the then-freshmen and eighth graders scored 35 second half points to subdue Paris.
Like we said it's 18-8 at the half. The Bearcats then scored on four straight possessions then ran out the clock on their final drive.
There was also an injury to Whitman, who along with Wright had scored in the first half, that required smelling salts, according to a Democrat article. He returned to play, but the Bearcats had already damaged the title hopes for Paris. Whitman had been drilled on a sweep by Bill Cobb, Charlie Rogers, Pat Raney and others.
Davis hooked up with Conway Massey for 8 yards and a touchdown — they had combined for 20 yards on another play of the drive — and with Massey's two pointer it was 18-16. A Ray Asbury touchdown run from the 3 gave the Bearcats the lead and the Davis to Massey combination made it 24-18.
Early in the final quarter Massey went 9 yards for a touchdown to make it a two score game and, after an interception by Bill Cobb, Asbury went 8 yards for his second touchdown of the game and Cobb added the extra two for a 20-point lead.
Before it ended Jimmy Dan Reese picked off Wright twice and, with Charleston dealing Dardanelle its second conference loss of the year, the Bearcats were the only one-loss team in district play, earning a playoff date with Alma. Never mind about that.
Tomorrow for number 11 we’ll wreck a perfect conference season by That Team Up North, and enjoy doing so.