BY MELANIE BUCK –
The Mena Bearcats football team will face the DeQueen Leopards on the gridiron in their season opener, this Friday, September 2nd at 7:30 p.m. at Leopard Stadium. The two teams have played annually since 1948.
Their first recording meeting was in 1912 when the Leopards beat the Bearcats 38-0. That was the first year of Bearcat football. Beginning in 1960, the two schools opened the season for one another until that tradition ended in 1998, when the Bearcats moved into DeQueen’s 4A conference. The season-opening tradition resumed in 2010 as again, the Bearcats and Leopards became non-conference opponents. The Bearcats are in Class 4A, the toughest in the state. The Leopards moved up to Class 5A a couple of seasons ago.
DeQueen leads the series against the Bearcats 50-23, with 5 ties. The Leopards have won six of the last nine meetings in the rivalry, but the Bearcats won two in a row prior to last year’s 41-13 DeQueen victory.
The Bearcats more than held their own against 6A Jacksonville in last week’s scrimmage at Bearcat Stadium. “Condition wise, I was pretty pleased,” said Bearcat Head Football Coach Tim Harper. “I’m excited about what the season holds. I’m looking forward to it and hopefully we will have a good year.”
The game will be broadcast live on KQOR 105.3FM, home of the Bearcats, with play-by-play action from Phillip Wilson and Todd Aynes, beginning with pre-game action at 7 p.m. You can also catch the Bearcat Coaches’ Show on Thursday at 6:05 p.m., also on KENA 104.1FM.