BY RICK WRIGHT –
The Mena Bearcats and Head Coach Tim Harper and his staff, celebrated Homecoming Night in Bearcat Stadium by destroying the Bauxite Miners 51-6 Friday, October 7th, 2016.
Sophomore place kicker Christian Lua got the game underway with the kickoff, that was returned to the Miner’s 20 yard line.
Bauxite gained six yards combined on first and second down to bring up third and four. Bearcat senior Taylor Redding shot through on third down to drop the Miner’s runningback in the backfield for a four yard loss to bring up the games first punt. Junior Justin Dean returned the punt to the Mena 49.
On first down, junior quarterback Carson Cannon attempted a pass that fell incomplete, however the play drew a defensive interference penalty on Bauxite. The 15 yard penalty advanced Mena to the Miner’s 36 yard line. The Bearcats capped their 51 yard drive with a one yard touchdown run by Dean with 6:58 to play in the opening quarter. The extra point was blocked, leaving the score 6-0.
The Miners returned Lua’s kickoff from their five yard line to the Mena 36. Two incomplete passes and a defensive holding penalty put Bauxite at the Mena 20. On second down and 10, senior Ryan Ozanich intercepted the Bauxite quarterback with 6:16 to go in the quarter at the Mena 10 yard line.
Mena couldn’t get anything going and punted on fourth and 10 to the Bearcat 49.
Three plays later, Bearcat junior Cross Hughes intercepted a Bauxite pass at the Mena 16 yard line. A holding penalty put the Bearcats behind the chains and forced an eventual punt on fourth and 15. Senior punter Landon Stidman’s kick was returned to the Bearcat 46. Two plays later Bauxite fumbled the ball and sophomore linebacker Jonny Gunn came out of the scrammble with the ball at the Bauxite 23 yard line with 1:39 left in the quarter.
On the second play of the second quarter, Dean scored on a 10 yard touchdown run at the 11:41 mark. Ozanich ran in the two-point conversion to put Mena up 14-0.
On third down in the Miner’s next possession sophomore defensive back Devin Belknap intercepted a Bauxite pass at the Mena 47 with 10:15 to play in the half.
Sophomore Nick Linch gained 14 yards on first down to the Miner 39. Two plays later Cannon completed a short pass to Ozanich who advanced to the Bauxite 26, where on the next play Cannon threw a 26 yard touchdown pass to junior Ty Cole at the 9:06 mark. Sophomore kicker Camden Brodersen added the extra point to lift Mena to a 21-0 advantage.
The Miners began at their own 29 after the kickoff. On first down a fifteen yard penalty advanced the ball to the 44. Sophomore defensive end Brock Strother dropped a Bauxite running back for a two yard loss on first down to bring up second and 12. The Miners attempted another pass, at the 7:37 mark, which was intercepted by Hughes who returned the pick to the Bauxite 27 yard line. On first down the Miner’s intercepted a Cannon pass in the endzone to give Bauxite the ball at their 20.
The Miners drove the ball to the Mena 25 where on fourth and five Bauxite attempted a 42 yard field goal. Sophomore defensive end Zion Barnes blocked the field goal to end the scoring threat. The scramble for the ball resulted in a first down for Mena at the Miner’s 36 yard line.
Ozanich gained 13 to the Bauxite 23 on first down. Dean rumbled 23 yard for a touchdown on the following play with 4:14 to go in the first half. Brodersen added the extra point to make the score Mena 28, Bauxite 0.
The Miners moved the ball from their own 32 to the Mena 44 where they turned the ball over on downs at the 2:44 mark.
At the 1:07 mark of the second quarter, Cannon threw a 38 yard touchdown pass to Dean. The extra point by Brodersen made the halftime score Mena 35, Bauxite 0.
Mena set the tone immediately to begin the second half when Dean gathered in the Bauxite kickoff at the Bearcat two yard line and returned the kick 97 yards for another Mena touchdown. Brodersen added the extra point to put Mena up 42-0 with 11:29 to go in the third quarter.
Bauxite advanced the ball from their own 31 to the Mena 36 where they turned the ball over on downs on fourth and 22.
Ozanich gained 49 yards to the Bauxite 15 yard line where Coach Harper inserted hit JV offensive squad. On fourth and five Lua kicked a 42 yard field goal to make the score Mena 45, Bauxite 0.
With the clock rolling due to the Mercy Rule, the Bearcat JV offense advanced the ball to the Miner’s four yard line on Belknap 11 yard run. Belknap scored on a four yard touchdown run on the following play. Mena missed the extra point to leave the score 51-0.
Bauxite, working against the Bearcat JV, advanced the ball deep into Mena territory where with 33 seconds to play in the contest, the Miner quarterback scored on an 11 yard run. The Bearcats blocked the extra point to make the final score Mena 51, Bauxite 6.
Mena travels to Arkadelphia this week with the game scheduled to kickoff at 7 p.m.