BY EASTON LEONARD –
The Mena Bearcats traveled to Central Arkansas Christian, on Friday, November 11, for round one in the 4A State Football Playoffs. Mena was defeated by the Mustangs, 42-21.
CAC won the coin toss and chose to kickoff to start the game. The Mustangs onside kicked the ball out of bounds, giving Mena the ball on their own 37 yard line. Mena drove all the way to the CAC 2 yard line, and was followed by the Bearcats’ first touchdown of the night. Camden Brodersen’s PAT attempt was good, making the score 7-0 Mena, with 5:53 left in the first quarter.
Wasting no time after the kickoff, the Mustangs handed off to their running back who ran 71 yards up the middle for a CAC touchdown on second down. The Mustangs’ point after attempt was good, tying the game at 7-7 with 5:09 left in the first quarter.
On Mena’s second possession of the game, the Bearcats were forced to punt the ball on fourth down. The Bearcats’ punt was not returned, and rolled into the end zone for a touchback, giving CAC the ball on their own 20 yard line.
The Mustangs advanced the ball to the Mena 9 yard line before a false start penalty was called on first and goal. On second and goal from the Bearcats 14 yard line, CAC connected for a 14 yard touchdown pass. The Mustangs’ point after attempt split the uprights, making the score 14-7 CAC, with 1:43 left in the first quarter.
On third down, Mena’s Carson Cannon completed a pass to Justin Dean who ran a few yards before fumbling. The Mustangs recovered the fumble and took over possession on their own 47 yard line.
After the first quarter came to an end, CAC was able to drive to the Bearcat 11 yard line. On fourth down, the Mustangs completed an 11 yard touchdown pass. CAC made the point after attempt, making the score 21-7 with 9:39 left in the second quarter.
Mena went three and out on their next possession, being forced to punt on fourth down. The Mustangs fair caught the punt on their own 22 yard line.
CAC advanced the ball to the Mena 47 yard line, before their fourth false start of the game was called, moving the ball back to the Mustangs’ 48 yard line. On the third down, the Mustangs threw a 52 yard touchdown pass. The Bearcats blocked the point after attempt, making the score 27-7 with 4:22 left in the first half.
On Mena’s next possession, they were forced to punt again. CAC fair caught the punt on the 21 yard line, with 2:45 left in the second quarter.
The Mustangs completed two long passes, to quickly advance the ball to the Mena 12 yard line. On first down, CAC’s quarterback ran 12 yards up the middle for a touchdown. CAC completed the 2-point conversion, making the score 35-7 with 2:07 left in the second quarter.
On third and ten from the Mustangs’ 37 yard line, Cannon completed a screen pass to Justin Dean who broke a few tackles for another Bearcat touchdown. Brodersen’s point after attempt was good, making the score 35-14 with 56 seconds left in the first half.
CAC was unable to score again before the second quarter came to an end, making the score 35-14 at halftime.
Mena kicked off to the Mustangs to start the second half. Christian Lua’s kickoff rolled into the end zone for a touchback, giving CAC the ball on their own 20 yard line. On second and ten, CAC’s pass was intercepted by Justin Dean and returned to the Mustangs 19 yard line.
The Bearcats were able move the ball to the Mustangs 1 yard line, before Cannon fumbled in the end zone. CAC recovered the fumble in the end zone, giving the Mustangs possession once again on their own 20 yard line.
The Mustangs went three and out on their second possession of the third quarter, and were forced to punt. The punt rolled a few yards, and was marked down at the Mena 18 yard line.
Both Mena and CAC were forced to punt on their next possessions, keeping the score at 35-14.
On Mena’s ninth possession of the game, Cannon completed a 15 yard touchdown pass to Ty Cole. Brodersen’s point after attempt split the uprights, making the score 35-21 with 1:12 left in the third quarter.
After Mena’s onside kick, the Mustangs were able to advance to the Bearcats’ 5 yard line. On fourth down, CAC’s field goal attempt was blocked, giving Mena the ball back.
Mena drove to the Mustangs’ 35 yard line, before turning the ball over on downs. Giving CAC the ball on their own 35 yard line.
CAC was unable to score on their eleventh possession, being forced to punt. The Mustangs’ punt was marked on the Mena 29 yard line.
On fourth and six, Mena’s pass was intercepted and returned 34 yards for another Mustangs touchdown. The point after attempt was good, making the score 42-21 with 5:13 left in the fourth quarter.
The Mustangs and the Bearcats were both forced to punt on their twelfth possessions.
On Mena’s last possession of the game, the Bearcats fourth down pass was intercepted at the 35 yard line, giving the Mustangs the ball back.
After two quarterback kneels by CAC, the clock expired. Ending the game with a score of 42-21, in favor of the Mustangs.
This loss, puts another great season in the books for the Bearcats.