BY NORM BETZ –
Three of the Mena Bearcats that were instrumental in the run to the 4A State Championship game this past season, have signed letters of intent to attend college and continue to play football at the next level.
“I’m so proud of these young men,” exclaimed Mena Bearcats head coach Tim Harper. “They’ve really worked hard and are now being rewarded for all their hard work.”
Mena Bearcats quarterback, Sage Kesterson, has signed his letter of intent to play at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Kesterson, 6’ 0” and a 180 lbs, finished his high school career with 3,143 passing yards and 1,079 rushing yards . Kesterson threw 30 touchdown passes over his four years at Mena High School. Kesterson was named All-Conference three times and was also named to the All-State Team. Kesterson was recruited as a quarterback.
Kesterson will join a program rich in tradition and headed in the right direction. Ouachita finished last season with a perfect 10-0 regular season for the first time in school history and won the Great American Conference outright. The program boasts a 90% graduation rate of football players that play out their eligibility. The Tigers are the only university in the state of Arkansas to have six consecutive winning seasons, as well as, the only Division II University in the state to have been ranked in the AFCA Top 25 five of the last six years.
Sage Kesterson is the son of Brian and Sonja.
It doesn’t get much better than two high school football teammates being able to play together in college. That’s exactly what seniors Luke Bowser and Jackson Daugherty will be doing next year, as they both have signed letters of intent to attend and play football for Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas.
“It’s great that Luke and Jackson will be standing on the same sideline and continue to be teammates at the next level,” said Harper. “We’re not done here either, I want to get more of these young men on the college sidelines in the future.”
Bowser, the 6’0” 225 lbs. senior was recruited to play tight-end for the Bisons. While at Mena, Bowser had playing time at tight-end, defensive end and defensive tackle but will concentrate on the tight-end position for Harding University. Bowser has a 23.8” vertical, benches 300 lbs and squats 375 lbs.
Luke Bowser is the son of Brian and Stacy.
Jackson Daugherty, the 5’9” 180 lbs senior was recruited to play running back for the Bisons. While a Bearcat, Daugherty played running back and defensive strong safety. Daugherty has a 29” vertical, runs a 4.5 40-yard dash, benches 240 lbs and squats 340 lbs.
Jackson Daugherty is the son of Roger and Tina.
Bowser and Daugherty are joining a team that received their highest year-end ranking this past season since joining the NCAA in 1997. Harding finished No. 17 in the final season poll with a record of 9-2. The Bisons reached the NCAA Division II Playoffs for the second time in the last three seasons. Since 2012, Harding University sports an overall record of 27-6 and has played in the postseason three consecutive years.
One of the coolest things for these three young men will take place on October 3, 2015, when Harding University travels to Ouachita Baptist University to do battle in the Great American Conference.