We’re two Fridays from football. That’s 14 days. That means, of course, that we’re ready for number 14 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.
The foe for this game in late October of 2012 was an undefeated Pottsville team coached by Booneville graduate Bryan Rust who was on its way to a district title. Um, no they weren’t.
Why was this game chosen? The undefeated part of course. That and this game ended up deciding the conference title and reminded the Apache faithful that, as often as not, conference titles run through South Logan County.
What do I remember? This is one of my favorite stories, but it has nothing to do with the game, exactly. The summer before the season began I’m in Fort Smith at a Walmart when I see a dude in a Pottsville shirt. I remarked that he was a long way from home. From there we had a conversation that turned to football and the dude reminded me how easy the game was the previous year for Pottsville. (True enough in fact, it was the first time the Bearcats had been mercy-ruled at home.)
Dude, I said, don’t act like that was a routine thing. Pottsville has beaten Booneville once, counting that one, I added. He went on to tomatoes and I went on to bread.
What does Cody Harrel remember? I remember that the year before that (Michael) Perry rushed for like 301 yards against us, and we had that weighing on us. We held him to under 100 (22-96). Then, my senior year we held him to negative yards.
That, and I remember Hyatt calling time out and coming out there and telling me we were gonna kick that field goal and I was gonna make it. That was the first and only field goal I ever attempted. I kicked it as good as I was capable of kicking one. Afterwards, I kind of wished it had been from further.
What happened? We’ll break it down but first know that Harrel ran for two touchdowns and threw (not a typo) for two more besides the field goal.
It’s 15-15 going to the fourth quarter. It’s fourth-and-15 at the Pottsville 25-yard line when Harrel hooked up with Bryson May and May took it to the house for a 21-15 lead — Harrel missed the point after.
Booneville was 5-of-5 on fourth down, by the way.
For the most part, the Bearcats owned fourth down when Pottsville had the ball too. From third-and-1 Joseph Saldana had tackled Perry for a 3-yard loss and Justin Shackleford and Saldana got Perry for another 3-yard loss.
One play after a Jacob Lear fumble recovery with 10:39 to go set up the field goal from 26 yards with 8:24 to go, making it a two score game at 24-15.
James Ray picked off Perry on the first play of the next Pottsville possession. On a fourth-and-14 Harrel hit Ray for 15 and four downs later, needing 6, Harrel hit Saldana for 15 and a touchdown to make it 30-15 with 3:23 to go. He missed the PAT again that would have meant the Apaches needed two 8s for a tie.
Perry connected with Tyler Weaver for 45 and a touchdown and with the PAT it was 30-22 with 1:17 left. Matt Berry recovered the onside kick and, with Pottsville out of time outs, that was that.
Besides the aforementioned turnovers, part of the difference for Perry after the big night the previous year Shackleford who forced a fumble and recovered two of them.
Pottsville had scored first on a 1-yard Perry run but after Dalton Gray forced a fumble that Shackleford recovered, Harrel went 14 yards to tie it at 7-7.
Perry and Weaver connected for 7 and a touchdown to make it 15-7, with a two point Corey Campbell run. A 65-yard drive with Harrel scoring on fourth-and-goal from the 3 and a two point run by Harrel tied it at 15.
Tomorrow for number 13 we’ll make it two wins in one season.