Up the the challenge. James Ray (33) started at quarterback for the Bearcats Friday. Here Ray blocks for fullback Byrson May. With Ray under center the Bearcats scored 42 first half points and cruised to a 42-0 win over the Sand Lizards.
Looking for a hole. Josh Smith (32) looks for a hole on this second quarter run against Dardanelle. The play went for 9 yards but was called back due to a hold.
The first offensive play of the night saw Dardanelle gain a first down. Booneville’s first play, with backup quarterback James Ray under center, went for a yard loss.
It was not a sign of things to come for head coach Scott Hyatt and the Bearcats.
With Ray subbing for Cody Harrel, who was out due to a disciplinary matter, Booneville (6-0, 3-0 Conference 4A-4) went on to score 42 points between the 2:11 mark of the first quarter and the 4:07 mark of the second quarter. The number 42 would be featured a lot Friday night at Bearcat Stadium.
On their second possession the Bearcat started at their own 22-yard line and started to lean on fullback Bryson May. May ran 11, 12 then four yards and, after a carry by Josh Smith, got 4 more to get the Bearcats to the Dardanelle (4-2, 1-2) 42.
From there Ray dropped back and hit Matt Berry for a touchdown. With Landon Vance’s point after kick it was 7-0.
It didn’t stay that way for long – 57 seconds to be precise – because Ray stepped in front of a Chris Kershner pass and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown to make it 13-0.
After forcing a Sand Lizard punt – Dardanelle had 57 yards at halftime and the Bearcats recorded 12 tackles for a loss in the game – the Bearcats got a 39-yard run from May and were knocking on the door again.
Participating in negative yardage stops were Bryson May, Damon May, Josh Smith, Hunter Powell, Brian Smith, Dalton Ritchie, Joseph Saldana, Tanner Elliott, Dalton Gray, Michael Springs, Justin Shackleford and Damien Ashley.
Normally a force on defense, Shackleford spelled Bryson May in the backfield and after logging two of the next three carries, the Bearcats were at the 1. May scored from there and then May added the two point conversion for a 21-0 lead.
Kicking off from the Sand Lizard 45 because of a personal foul on the touchdown, Smith bounced an onside kick and Michael Springs recovered it.
Bryson May was stopped for no gain on the next play but Berry went 29 yards for a touchdown a play later and it was 28-0 in a span of less than five minutes – there was 9:18 left in the first half.
Dardanelle managed a first down and appeared to have another but it was wiped out by a penalty so coach Josh Price called on a Gerardo Hernandez to punt. The kick was downed at the Bearcat 14.
Bryson May carried on two downs and Hyatt called him to the sidelines for a breather. Shackleford went 69 yards on the next play and it was 35-0.
Shackleford’s three carries netted 86 yards.
Two plays after the kickoff Kershner threw downfield but Berry picked it off at the Bearcat 42 and returned it 42 yards to the Dardanelle 11.
A penalty pushed the Bearcats back to the 16 and Bryson May scored his second touchdown from there to make it 42-0 with 4:07 left in the half.
Bryson May finished the night with 12 carries for 113 yards.
Phillip Ellison took over at quarterback for the Lizards and the game was in the hands of the reserves for both teams the rest of the way.
With the sportsmanship rule clock running the Bearcats kept the ball for over nine minutes to start the second half – Cole Inklebarger, Jimmy Scott, Sam Cooney and Dustin Peterson did most of the work – but turned the ball over on downs.
Dardanelle would punt and Stephen McKesson logged six carries before Dardanelle got the ball with a final chance to get on the scoreboard.
The Sand Lizards moved from the Bearcat 43 to the 2 before Ashely and Brian Smith made a stop for a 2-yard loss and Brian Smith led a stop of Ellison at the Bearcat 2 on the final play of the night.
The Bearcats will travel this week to Mena. The other Bearcats in Conference 4A-4 was handed a 35-0 loss by Pottsville on Friday.