When the 2013 Booneville Bearcats won the school’s third state title in football, they joined a few exclusive clubs.
For starters, they joined their school’s so-called championship club that include only the 1986 and 2000 squads. They also joined a list of only three teams in school history to finish a season without a loss.
Because the 1986 title team finished 12-2 and the 2000 champs were 14-1, the 15-0 season is the first unblemished record in 60 years.
The last Bearcat team to go unbeaten in a full season was the 1953 Bearcats that finished 11-0. It is conceivable that scored 366 points and gave up 12 all season might have made a run at a state title but there were no playoffs that season — the 1952 Bearcats had reached the semifinals.
The only other Booneville team to run the table was the 1938 Bearcats, who finished 8-0.
The 2013 championship also put Booneville on a rather exclusive list of schools to have won at least three state titles – the 14-12 victory on Dec. 20 denied Warren the spot in the Triple Crown Club.
With Morrilton joining the club in 5A there are now 23 schools in the current Class 5A-7A who have three trophies, among schools that competed in Class 4A in 2013 there are only three others: Stuttgart with seven, Pine Bluff Dollarway with five, and Nashville with four have more.
Stuttgart’s last title was in 2012, Dollarway’s was in 1993 — which was the fifth in a six year period — and Nashville’s was in 2007.
Besides the Lumberjacks, the list of those seeking a third celebration includes Arkadelphia, Crossett, Farmington, Lake Village, Monticello and Newport.
In Class 3A, where the Bearcats are bound for the next playing cycle the list is not much longer. Barton has eight, McGehee has seven, Charleston won its fourth less than 24 hours after Booneville got its third, Harding Academy has five, Prescott has four and Danville three.
The most recent for Barton was in 1997, McGehee’s last was in 1999, for Harding Academy it was 2010, for Prescott it was 1995 and for Danville it was 1980.
Anxiously awaiting a third celebration in 3A are the likes of Rivercrest, Fordyce, Osceola and Earle.
In 2A the list is even shorter – Rison with eight, Junction City with its fifth on Dec. 21 and Augusta with three.
Booneville won the 2000 title as a member of 3A and the 86 crown came in 2A football making the 2013 the third different title. All are also under three different coaches – Doug Scheel in 1986 and Kenneth Rippy in 2000 preceded Scott Hyatt in 2013.
While it’s not the same, exactly, the last six times Booneville teams earned trips to War Memorial Stadium, they did so in successive years — the 1985 and 1986 teams, the 1988 and 1989 and the 2000 and 2001 teams.