Lamar stood in the way of Booneville’s 34th conference title. It was the wrong place to be.
The Bearcats beat the Warriors 28-7 behind a pair of Carson Ray touchdown runs and a pair of Evan Schlinker touchdown passes.
The Bearcats (9-0, 6-0 Conference 3A-1) won the toss and deferred and although the Warriors managed only two first downs they managed to burn more than four minutes off the clock before punting to the Bearcat 9-yard line.
Before snapping the ball Booneville was penalized but Ethan Dobbs took a handoff for 21 yards to get the Bearcats some breathing room.
Schlinker would lead the Bearcats to the Warrior 8 only to be sacked on a third down play and slip down on a fourth down to give Lamar the ball back with 27 seconds left in the opening quarter.
Noah Reyes got the Bearcats the ball back by stripping it from Ike Pelts with Michael Hesson recovering at the Warrior 21.
But the Bearcats would again come away empty when Brady James picked off a Schlinker pass at the 1 with 10:19 to play in the half.
Lamar (8-1, 5-1) moved out to its 43 before being forced into a punting situation and Reyes was there again for the Bearcats to block the punt and the Bearcats took over at the Warrior 12.
Andrew Robertson lost a couple of yards on the next play but Ray fought through Warriors on a 14-yard touchdown run to break the ice. Gavin Kent’s point after made it 7-0 with 3:11 to play in the half.
Ray would run 24 times for 176 yards, going well over the 1,000-yard mark for the season in the process.
The Bearcats used their time outs and forced another Braydon Grace punt taking over at their 38 with 1:55 to go in the half.
Ray went for 28 yards and Robertson followed that with a 10-yard pickup.
Ray lost a yard but got 19 on the next carry and Schlinker spiked the ball at the Warrior 16.
Schlinker overthrew Dobbs on the next play but Dobbs hauled in a touchdown pass on third down with 21 seconds on the clock. Kent’s PAT, after Lamar jumped offside, hit the right upright to keep it 13-0.
Schlinker was 5-of-10 for 65 yards on the night and his two touchdowns give him 11 on the season.
Ian Suttles picked off Pelts on the final play of the half but was tripped up inside the Lamar 40.
Lamar forced a three-and-out to start the second half but the Bearcats, who allowed 106 first half yards but only 129 in the game, induced a punt as well.
After the Warrior punt the Bearcats again drove into the red zone, but came away empty a third time, after a holding penalty took away a touchdown run by Ray, and turned the ball over on downs at the Lamar 12 with 2:24 to play in the third quarter.
After another three-and-punt for Lamar, the Bearcats had the ball at the Warrior 40. Schlinker got a yard then Ray went for 39 and the touchdown. Ray also ran for an extra two and a 21-0 lead with 13 seconds to play in the quarter.
An interception by Ray gave the Bearcats the ball back but consecutive holding penalties made it first-and-31 and the Bearcats would eventually have to punt.
Marcus Nichols sacked Pelts for the second time after the punt, helping continue would be a streak of three straight possessions to end in a punt but Hesson had his next one blocked and returned to the Bearcat 2.
Jacob Palmeter, whose 40 yards led the Warriors, scored two plays later to make it 21-7 with 4:02 to play.
Hesson recovered an onside kick attempt and the Bearcats put the game away with a 52-yard drive, to which Lamar contributed 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct.
It was a fourth-and-4 at the 20 when Schlinker hit Hesson for a touchdown to make it 28-7 with 2:06 to play.
Lamar was then content to run out the clock.
Already assured of a share of the conference title and the 3A-1’s top seed in the Class 3A playoffs, which get underway on Nov. 9, the Bearcats will close out the regular season by traveling to Cedarville.
The Pirates (4-5, 3-3) handed Mansfield their third straight loss last week, 26-20 in overtime, and are fighting for a playoff spot, but will likely need an upset to make it happen.