There isn't much like November football when everything is on the line. That was the case in week 10 of 2001 with Clarksville visiting South Logan County.
The champions at the end of the night, as the saying goes, was the home team.
Why was this game chosen? It was a winner take all game in regards to the conference title. More than that it was Clarksville's last chance to win a title before moving up to, then, Class 4A. Clarksville was also 8-1 coming into the game so the threat was legitimate against an 8-0 Bearcat team. The game went to the wire with the Bearcats winning 27-26.
What do I remember? As I said both teams had eight wins. That's thanks to Siloam Springs for citing a suggestion to not play football on the Friday following 9-11. The suggestion was not made by an Arkansas official and, of course, this was the only game cancelled that night that wasn't played on Saturday. That and the junior high team did travel to Siloam the previous night, but like the Kermit meme, that's none of my business.
The game? It was intense. The headline on my story in the Times Record the next morning was "Bearcats Throw Block Party," or something to that effect. Hey the game actually got three stories. No kidding.
What does Josh Walker remember? Obviously I remember the three blocked PATs that ended up securing the victory by the end of the night. Clarksville did not have an answer for how to block Josh Holloway and Nathan Adair. Thinking back it seemed like they blocked PATs all night and the explosion from the crowd was bigger every time.
I remember before every game Coach Rippy would tell us to stress the special teams. He said special teams always make the difference in a big game like this. He could not have been more correct.
Another notable play was when Brent Morris clothes-line tackled the punt returner on a key punt. Lastly, I remember a big play where Ronnie Becker mowed over a defender like he wasn't even there and Ray Rideout being a big dude.
What does Josh Holloway remember? Wow that feels like forever ago. I remember that Jordan Tharel and I always took pride in blocking kicks. He and I were on the same side and we had game planned to pick on one of their players. I do remember a block I had felt like it broke my arms. I believe they had a really good kicker too. Me, John Robert Harris and Jordan called ourselves the Wolfpack for some reason. Haha great times.
What happened? Like Walker said there were three blocked extra points in the game, two by Holloway and the other by Adair. The last one, by Holloway, kept a 27-26 game from being tied.
Clarksville actually had a 20-7 lead with 9:39 left in the first half before the Bearcats scored 20 unanswered points, starting with a 91-yard drive following the kickoff at 20-7. Quarterback Brad West moved the chains three times but it was Holloway, the sophomore split end, who hit Ronnie Becker for 25 yards and a touchdown to make it 20-13. Mason Shirey missed the PAT.
Holloway and Matt Heissler stopped Panther quarterback Ricky Williams just outside the goal line on the final play of the half to keep it a one score game.
After Jordan Tharel — 16 tackles including 14 solo — and company shut the door on the Panthers in the third quarter West pitched to Becker on a game-tying touchdown play that covered 48 yards.
West then set up the go-ahead score with a 40-yard punt return to the Clarksville 35-yard line late in the quarter. Bryan Taylor scored from the 8 on the first play of the final quarter and Shirey made the PAT for a seven point lead.
Clarksville got within 27-26 on a 9-yard Ray Rideout touchdown run — his third of the night — but Holloway blocked Pierce Curran's attempt to tie the game.
Williams had run 48 yards for a touchdown for the first points of the night but Adair blocked the PAT to keep it 6-0. Becker answered 48 seconds later with a 57-yard run and Shirey's PAT made it 7-6.
Curran missed a field goal that would have given the Panthers the lead but a roughing the kicker penalty gave Clarksville new life. Rideout made the penalty hurt with a 13-yard scoring run for a 12-7 lead but Holloway blocked Curran's PAT try.
Rideout's second touchdown run was accompanied by a two-point conversion that he also ran for made it 20-7.
Tomorrow we’ll kick a champion to the curb.