BY RICK WRIGHT –
The Junior Bearcats suffered their first loss of the season, falling to the Arkadelphia Badgers 31-28 Thursday, October 13th at Bearcat Stadium.
The Junior Badgers featured their quarterback, Thomas, who was very illusive and provided most of the Arkadelphia offense and was the difference in the game.
The Badgers returned Bearcat Mark Wilson’s opening kickoff to the Arkadelphia 34 yard line. The Junior Badgers march 66 yards in five plays to score on a 27 yard run by Thomas. The extra point failed, leaving the score 6-0.
Mena’s Jacinto Perez returned the Badger’s kickoff to the Arkadelphia 25 yard line, giving the Bearcats excellent field position. Mena marched 25 yards in five plays, converting a fourth and one, to score on a 13 yard touchdown run by Bearcat quarterback Zane Stephens. Stephens passed to Wilson for the two-point conversion to put Mena on top 8-6.
Arkadelphia started their next possession at their own 41. Five plays later, Wilson intercepted a Badger pass at the Mena 43. Five plays into the Bearcat drive, the Badgers intercepted a Stephen’s pass at the Arkadelphia 29 yard line. On the final play of the first quarter, facing a third and four, the Badger quarterback, Thomas, jitterbugged his way all the way to score on a 65 yard touchdown run. With the extra point, Arkadelphia took a 13-8 lead.
Mena set up their offense at the 50 yard line after the kickoff. Four consecutive carries by Wilson moved the ball to the Badger 25 yard line. Stephens ran a quarterback keeper to the Badger’s nine yard line to set up a first and goal. Wilson gained six yards to the three on the next play before Stephens gained two to the one yard line on the next play. A motion penalty backed the Bearcats up to the six yard line to face third and goal. Stephens scored on a six yard run with 5:23 to play in the first half. Stephens also ran in the two-point conversion to lift Mena to a 16-13 lead.
With 1:14 left in the half, Stephens added a two yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion failed, leaving the score 22-13.
The Badgers returned the kickoff all the way to the Mena 37 yard line. Six plays later, Arkadelphia scored on a two yard run with 29 seconds left in the first half. The extra point was no good, setting the halftime score at Mena 22, Arkadelphia 19.
Wilson intercepted a pass to end the Badger’s first drive in the third quarter. However, Arkadelphia intercepted a Stephens pass three plays later at their own 39. Two plays later, the Badger quarterback went 41 yards for a touchdown at the 5:13 mark. Mena blocked the extra point attempt, leaving the score Arkadelphia 25, Mena 22.
With 3:46 to play in the game, the Arkadelphia quarterback struck again, scoring on a 55 yard run. The two-point conversion pass attempt was knocked down by Mena’s Curtis Curry to leave the score at 31-22.
Mena started their next drive at their own 43. A personal foul against Arkadelphia advanced the ball to the Badger 42. Stephens passed to Devin Adams who went all the way to the Arkadelphia 15 yard line. Three plays later, Stephens passed to Andrew Graves who was tackled at the three yard line, setting up a first and goal. Wilson scored from three yards out on the next play with 2:26 to go in the contest. The two-point conversion failed, setting what turned out to be the final score Arkadelphia 31, Mena 28.
The Bearcats attempted an onside kick that was recovered by Arkadelphia at their 48 yard line, where the Badgers ran out the rest of the clock.
The Junior Bearcats travel to Nashville Thursday, October 20th to take on the Junior Scrappers. The Eighth grade scrimmage will begin at 5:30 p.m. followed by the Junior High game.
The Eighth grade Bearcats battled the Eighth Grade Badgers to a 6-6 tie earlier in a scrimmage earlier in the evening.