BY MELANIE BUCK
The Mena Bearcats showed their spirit and future potential when they hit the field last Friday night to celebrate Homecoming and captured their first win of the season, defeating the Mansfield Tigers 35-12 in conference play.
In opening ceremonies, Senior Jordan Ward was crowned as the 2015 Homecoming Queen as Keeley Jones was chosen as Maid of Honor.
Kickoff for the big game was 7 p.m. and after getting off to a slow start, the Bearcats danced in style on the field as they pulled off several plays that sent the enthusiastic crowd to their feet.
The Tigers did draw first blood in the 1st Quarter when at the 5 minute mark, they hit the endzone with a touchdown. The Tigers PAT was no good and the score was set at 6-0, where it remained through the rest of the quarter.
In the 2nd quarter, the Bearcats truly found their footing when they scored their first touchdown of the game on a Tigers possession. Junior Justin Dean ran the ball in on a punt return with 11:48 to go in the half and then Senior Justin Godfrey sent the pigskin flying through the posts to gain the one-point PAT to bring the Bearcats the lead at 7-6.
Less than five minutes passed on the game clock before Dean caught a soaring pass sent by Sophomore Quarterback Carson Cannon in the endzone for a second touchdown. Godfrey again owned the uprights with the PAT, bringing the score to 14-6.
With 53 seconds left in the half, David Hatfield intercepted the ball and the Bearcats snared another touchdown and PAT to bring the halftime score to 21-6.
Throughout the second half, the Bearcat defense worked hard to keep the Tigers under wraps but with 1:25 left in the 3rd, the Tigers hit the endzone one more time. The Tigers tried for a two-point conversion in vain and the Bearcats led, 21-12.
The Bearcats remained a driving force in the 4th when at 2nd and goal, the Bearcats drove in and grab another touchdown and Godfrey split the uprights leaving the score, 28-12.
The last touchdown of the night came from Cannon. On the quarterback keep, Cannon ran from three yards out then Godfrey kicked for his last PAT of the night bringing a Bearcat 35-12 victory over Mansfield.
Head Coach Tim Harper said, “What a great team win for the Bearcats! So proud of my Coaches and players. They all stepped up in my absence and did a phenomenal job.” The night’s acting head coach, Craig Bentley said, “I’m very proud of the boys and our coaching staff. The boys deserved a victory and I’m glad they were able to achieve that on Homecoming.”
The Bearcats will face Ashdown Panthers this Friday in Bearcat Stadium for their second conference game of the season. Kick-off begins at 7:30 p.m. The Bearcats stand at a 1-2 record for this season.