BY EASTON LEONARD –
Friday night, September 15th, the Mena Bearcats (3-0) football team hosted the rival Waldron Bulldogs (2-1) at Bearcat Stadium. Both teams went into the matchup undefeated.
Waldron won the opening coin toss and chose to receive the ball to start the second half.
Gerardo Lopez’s kickoff for the Bulldogs was caught by Mena’s Nick Linch who ran out of bounds at the thirty yard line.
On their first offensive possession, the Bearcats drove down to the Waldron five yard line but were unable to get into the end zone, forcing Coach Harper to go to kicker Camden Brodersen for the field goal try. Brodersen cleared the uprights, putting Mena on the board first, 3-0, with 5:41 left in the first quarter.
Christian Lua’s kickoff for Mena was returned by Levi Franklin to the twenty-five yard line.
The Bearcat defense forced Waldron to punt after three plays on their first possession. Levi Hayden’s punt was returned by Mena’s Justin Dean from the forty-four yard line to the end zone, for a fifty-six yard Bearcat touchdown. Lua’s point-after-attempt was good for the Bearcats, to make the score 10-0.
After a touchback on the kickoff, Waldron took over on their own twenty yard line to start their second possession. Two plays later, the Bulldogs handed the ball off to #25 Levi Hayden who ran for a sixty-eight yard touchdown, silencing the home crowd. Trey Williams’ point-after-attempt for Waldron was good, making the score 10-6.
Nick Linch returned the kickoff thirty-four yards for Mena, to the Waldron forty-one yard line. On first down, Carson Cannon handed the ball off to Justin Dean who ran for a forty-one yard Bearcat touchdown. Cannon kept up the middle and into the end zone for the two-point conversion. Making the score 18-6 with 1:54 left in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs went three-and-out on their third offensive possession, giving Mena the ball back via punt at their own forty-one yard line.
Mena only ran one play before the first quarter came to an end. Four plays into the second quarter, Cannon handed the ball off to Dean who fumbled. Waldron recovered the fumble at their own thirty-six yard line.
Waldron ran ten plays on their fourth offensive possession, but were unable to score, having to punt it back to the Bearcats. The punt went out of bounds, giving Mena the ball at their own seventeen yard line.
The Bearcats drove down to the Waldron twelve yard line on eight plays, before Carson Cannon ran into the end zone for a twelve yard Bearcat touchdown. Lua’s point-after-attempt was good, making the score 25-6 with 3:28 left in the first half.
Four plays following the kickoff, the Bulldogs handed the ball over to Levi Hayden who ran into the end zone for a twenty-five yard touchdown. Waldron went for the extra two points, but threw an incomplete pass. Making the score 25-12 with 2:09 left in the half.
Mena took over at the twenty-one yard line following a penalty on the kickoff, but gave the ball right back to the Bulldogs via a fumble on second down. Waldron recovered the fumble at the Mena twenty-one. On first down, #13 Trey Williams threw a twenty-one yard touchdown pass to #24 Cole Huddleston. Trey Williams’ point-after-attempt split the uprights for Waldron to make the score 25-19 with 1:15 left in the half.
Thanks to a sixty-one yard pass from Cannon to Dean on third and twenty-two, the Bearcats were able to drive down to the four yard line and score via a touchdown pass to Nick Linch. Cannon kept up the middle and into the end zone, converting for an extra two points. Making the score 33-19 with 14.2 seconds left in the first half.
The Bulldogs were able to get off only two plays on their seventh offensive possession before the first half came to an end, with the score 33-19.
Both teams were forced to punt on their first offensive possessions of the second half. Waldron ran in for an eighteen yard touchdown on their ninth offensive possession, but missed the point-after-attempt. Making the score 33-25 with 6:09 left in the third quarter.
After forcing Mena to punt on their next possession, the Bulldogs took over from their thirty-one and ended up handing the ball off to Levi Hayden who broke a few tackles an ran for a fifty-two yard touchdown. Going for the tie, the Bulldogs were unable to convert the two-point conversion. making the score 33-31 with 3:02 left in the third.
On Mena’s ninth offensive possession, on first and ten from mid-field, a bad snap led to a fifty yard touchdown pass from Cannon to Dean. The Bearcats converted the two-point conversion, making the sore 41-31 with 1:56 left in the third quarter.
Waldron’s eleventh offensive possession went into the fourth quarter, but didn’t include any point being scored, as the Bulldogs were forced to punt. Mena took over from their own fourteen yard line. After a penalty pushed the Bearcats back to the eight yard line, on second and sixteen, Carson Cannon handed the ball off to Justin Dean who ran for a ninety-two yard touchdown. Lua’s point-after-attempt for Mena was blocked. Making the score 47-31.
Both teams gained possession of the ball one more time each, before the game came to an end, but no more points were scored. Making the final score 47-31 in favor of the home team Bearcats.
Mena will play again at home this Friday, September 22nd, as the Bearcats will host the Panthers of Ashdown. Ashdown will come into Friday’s game following wins against Monticello (48-7), Hope (46-7), and Hamburg (56-10). Last season, the Panthers defeated Mena in Ashdown by a score of 13-12.
Kickoff for this Friday’s matchup against Ashdown is set for 7:00 p.m. If you can’t make it to the game, make sure to tune in on KQOR 105.3 by downloading the app or catching the stream at MyPulseNews.com.