While a 1,000-yard season is certainly not easy, it is a fairly typical occurrence in a run-dominated, powerhouse of a program like Booneville High School, which has won 713 football games.
Carson Ray became the 45th Bearcat to eclipse the mark when the went for 176 in Lamar on Oct. 26, then pushing his season total to 1,083.
However, Carson Ray became the first third generation rusher to do it, following in the trail of broken tackles left by his grandfather Bruce in 1973, and his father Allen in 1998 and 1999.
Being the middle man, Allen Ray has the unique perspective of being the son, and father, of a 1,000-yard rusher.
“Very few families have the opportunity of multiple generations playing at the same school,” Allen Ray noted. “It’s something to be proud of. Carson’s always been a hard worker and that’s been the driver behind his success. Very proud of the athlete he is and the man he’s become.”
Bruce Ray had run for 1,197 yards going into a semifinal game against Prescott in 1973 and although it was a 52-0 loss, stats for the game have not been located.
Bruce Ray was both a halfback and incredibly dangerous kick returner for the Bearcats in 1973, sharing the backfield with strong armed quarterback Ricky Holcomb.
Among Bruce Ray’s highlights is a 90-yard kickoff return against Dardanelle and a 135-yard game against Atkins in a classic 22-14 overtime playoff game. Bruce Ray had a touchdown and pair of 2-point conversions in that game, which was played with a 10-minute overtime rather than possessions beginning at the opponent’s 10-yard line.
Bruce Ray’s career numbers show over 1,700 yards in two seasons.
Allen “Gator” Ray became local legend playing the final three years of the 1900s. Combined, he ran for a still standing school record 4,243 yard.
Listing all of Allen Ray’s school records could use enough paper to empty a small forest, but top highlights for the fullback include four 200-yard games with three of those playoff games — of the school’s 10 200-yard playoff rushing games. The other is a 226-yard performance in a season finale against Ozark that includes, some would argue, the greatest run in school history.
So dominant in the playoffs he ran for 715 yards in one postseason alone and 575 in another.
Allen Ray had seven other games wiht more than 150 yards.
Allen Ray actually had a pair of 1,000-yard seasons, running for 1,761 yards in 1999 when he missed a game with a neck injury. In 1998 Allen Ray ran for 1,554 yards. Had the punishing runner not missed a game as a sophomore, he might have gone over the century mark three times. He finished that season with 928 yards.
Allen Ray ran for 25, 22 and 11 touchdowns in his three seasons but that was not his only scoreboard damage. With 157 points kicking the ball alone — he had streaks of 34, 29, and 19 straight successful PAT kicks — and with five 2-point conversions, he scored 515 career points.
A fullback like his father, Carson Ray set a career high in the biggest game of the year, going for 176 to help hand Lamar its first loss.
Going into the playoffs, which begin this week, Carson Ray had carried the ball 153 times for 1,179 yards, an average of 7.7 yards a carry.
While no slouch as a junior, Carson Ray had 136 carries last year, when he had Brandon Ulmer in his backfield, and ran for 637 yards.
Carson Ray’s highlights this year include a five touchdown night at Greenland on a night the defense was uncharacteristically penetrable for a half.
Carson Ray also has a touchdown reception and three 2-point conversions for 138 total points scored.