Mena Bearcat players doused Head Coach Craig Bentley with a water cooler after the win Friday, Nov. 6 against Lamar at Bob Carver Bearcat Stadium.
The Bearcats claimed the 4-4A Conference Championship 35-24 over Lamar and will be a one seed in the playoffs. Mena will play the winner of Star City/Arkadelphia on Friday, Nov. 20 at Bob Carver Bearcat Stadium.
Senior players Max Montgomery, quarterback, and Cauy House, defensive line, said the team has made significant progress in their running game over the course of the season.
Montgomery said the defensive line was vital to this season’s success and this is the first time the Bearcats have won a conference since 1996. Both athletes said they feel the coaching staff is the best in the state and give credit to their experience and play calling.
Coach Bentley said the success is an accumulation of players being resilient. “They are a good group of kids – from the freshmen to the senior class,” he said. “From starting out tough in non conference, we were able to hold steady and stay positive and keep the focus. The leadership on the team has been the guiding track for our success.”
“I think consistency is the biggest things for us, offensively, defensibly and on special teams. I think schematically there are a lot of things you can focus on, but consistency has been our focus,” Bentley continued. “If you can be consistent in al three phases, you can win a lot of football games.”
Bentley said it is the first conference championship win in 24 years.
“I honestly think this an accumulation of teams and players and coaches over those years setting a foundation,” he explained. “It’s special to the community, and with the right group of kids this year they were able to go out and accomplish the goal and get it done. Twenty four years is way too long.”
The Bearcats are resting this week and will welcome the winner of Star City/Arkadelphia on Friday, Nov. 20 at Bob Carver Bearcat Stadium as they enter into playoffs.