With Booneville having already clinched an outright conference title and Cedarville tasked with needing a win and some improbable help to get to the playoffs, Friday’s season finale figured to anticlimactic.
In the end the Bearcats claimed a 40-0 win that made it three straight conference unbeaten seasons for those in the senior class, who were recognized prior to the game on senior night.
Cedarville used almost half of the first quarter before Cam Brasher finally made a fourth down stop of Pirate sophomore Darryl Kattich at the Bearcat 36.
It took just five plays for the Bearcats to score from there as Randon Ray had a 10-yard pickup, Andrew Robertson rolled for 11 on a play, and Brasher went 41 for the touchdown to make it 7-0 with Gavin Kent’s point after kick.
Oddly Kent’s kickoff was downed at the 10-yard line and the Pirates (6-4, 3-4) fumbled on the next play with Anthony McKesson recovering at the 3.
Ray scored from there and it was 13-0 after a missed PAT.
Ray ran for 82 yards on his nine carries in the game.
Cedarville kept the ball the next 9:31 before Evan Schlinker intercepted Cody Dickens with 6:12 to play in the half.
The Bearcats, who had run just six plays, then kept the ball for seven plays, going 74 yards and taking a 19-0 lead on a 5-yard run by Robertson with 4:53 left in the half.
Schlinker was unable to connect with McKesson on a two-point try.
A turnover on downs gave the Bearcats the ball back at Cedarville’s 22-yard line with 3:16 left in the half and Ray went 10 yards for his second touchdown five plays later.
Brasher ran for the two-point conversion and a 27-0 lead with 1:27 left in the half.
Using their time outs in an effort to force a punt or otherwise get the ball back, the Bearcats were looking to have the clock running for the entire second half.
However, a fourth pass from Dickens to Caleb Franklin ended those thoughts.
The Bearcat sideline argued the play did not begin before the play clock expired, but the Pirates were able to get to halftime with no further damage.
Although they lost Robertson to an ankle injury on the first play of the second half, the Bearcats would score on their first possession to make it 33-0.
Brasher, who finished with 108 yards on his 10 carries, got the touchdown from the 10, but a try for two and the 35 point sportsmanship cushion, failed.
Cedarville again kept the ball for more than nine minutes — the Pirates possessed the ball for more than 32 mintues — but again came away empty after a pair of incomplete passes.
Because the Pirates had the two-to-one possession advantage, the Bearcats saw big defensive numbers including Cort Mizell with 15 total tackles, Ethan Wooldridge with 14 and a team high six solo stops, McKesson with eight, and Brasher with seven.
After Brasher got 9 yards and Ray moved the chains on the first play of the final quarter, then it was Wooldridge, Colton Ritchie, Gabe Fennell, and Casey Mattson driving for a final score.
Ritchie got the touchdown from the 1 and Kent’s PAT made it 40-0.
The Bearcats ran for 298 yards on the night.
With the Conference 3A-1 and 3A-3 winners getting first round byes, ironically the two teams who met in Little Rock last December will be idle this week and will be at home throughout the playoffs.
On Nov. 22 the Bearcats will face the winner of a game between Hoxie, the third seed from the 3A-3, and Drew Central, the fourth seed from the 3A-6.