For a half the Booneville Bearcats did little to excite the crowd in the home opener Friday night.
Limited to 44 total yards in the half by visiting Ozark, the Bearcats put together an 11-play drive to start the second half to get on the scoreboard, and although there would be another scoring opportunity, it would be their only points of the night in a 28-6 loss.
Evan Schlinker started the scoring drive with 18 yards and facing a fourth-and-3 at their own 49, down 22-0 the Bearcats went to Andrew Robertson for 10 yards.
Another fourth down wound up not being an issue as Ozark was induced to jump offside, moving the ball to the 5.
Randon Ray scored from there and it was 22-6 with 6:34 left in the third quarter. Schlinker tried to connect with Anthony McKesson for a two-point conversion but was unable to do so.
Ray, a sophomore, would lead the Bearcats with 70 yards on 15 carries and the Bearcats more than tripled their offensive output to 161 yards.
McKesson helped force a fumble on the ensuing kickoff that Gavin Kent recovered, but the Bearcats were flagged for being offside and had to kick again.
Nonetheless, the Bearcats used a holding penalty, an illegal block penalty and a sack by McKesson to push the Hillbillies into a fourth-and-42 and Ethan Foster punted for 42 yards.
From their 46-yard line the Bearcats got carries from Ray and Schlinker, along with a personal foul late hit out of bounds, to move to the Ozark 20, but two plays went for naught, a motion penalty and an incomplete pass brought up another fourth down.
Schlinker was intercepted by Sebastian Ross at the 2 to end the threat.
From there Ozark marched 98 yards in 14 plays to put the game away.
Harper Faulkenberry hit Duke Walker with a short pass on a third-and-7 and with a block, Walker scored to make it 28-6. The PAT failed.
Faulkenberry completed just three passes, but two went for touchdowns. He also ran for 75 yards on 23 carries, which includes three sacks, two by Robertson in the first half.
Ozark took a 7-0 lead, scoring on a 9-yard run by Eli Munnerlyn with 7:14 to go in the opening quarter.
A Hillbilly possession later the Bearcats got a fourth down stop of Munnerlyn by Hunter Pence and Cort Mizell.
After a second three-and-out by the Bearcats, Ozark would also be forced to punt but Schlinker’s effort only went 10 yards.
Ozark used the field position of the Bearcat 38 to score in just five plays with Faulkenberry hitting Bryant Burns with a short pass and Burns breaking a tackle on the way to the end zone.
The PAT snap went awry but Ross was able to launch the ball to Lane McClure for a two-point conversion to make it 15-0 with 7:20 to go in the half.
Robertson’s second sack of the half helped force a punt that gave the Bearcats the ball back with 1:57 remaining.
However a fumble gave Ozark the ball back 11 seconds later and, with Walker’s return to the Bearcat 11, it took just three plays with Faulkenberry scoring from the 3 to make it 22-0.
By then the Hillbillies already had 180 yards and Ozark would end the night with 294. Daniel Woolsey led the way with 121 yards on 19 carries.
The Bearcats will close out the nonconference portion of the schedule with a trip to Pottsville Friday. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. The Apaches lost their opener, 53-42 to Newport last Friday.