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Don’t Let The Numbers Fool You (Sports Commentary)

Did you miss me last week? I’m sorry about that but some things can’t be helped. But since it was just a one week hiatus, we’ll take care of the last two games in today’s Monday morning quarterback file.

Today’s themes are don’t let the numbers fool you. First up is three, as in sweep. That sweep suffered to Mena last year was an aberration.

For starters it was the only time it happened to Booneville and, despite crooning into the night last year at Bearcat Stadium in Booneville, Mena had not beaten Booneville on their home field, turf or otherwise, since 1994 in a senior high game. They still haven’t, and with seventh grade and junior high wins Thursday, there was a sweep the other way.

If you were at Boyd Stadium – they also call it Bearcat Stadium – in Mena Friday you know the 49-28 final can be misleading. It was 49-12 less than three minutes into the third quarter and that same score when any remaining starters left the game for the sixth mercy rule victim in seven games.

Sage Kesterson threw for 86 of his 209 passing yards and a pair of his four touchdowns in the final nine minutes and change, and he threw for a pair of two point conversions to make it look a lot closer than it was.

He won’t catch Derek Davis, of course, but James Ray is now 2-0 as a starting quarterback. With Cody Harrel missing the Dardanelle game and the first quarter of the Mena game the Bearcats turned to Ray and he did not disappoint. Not even close.

At Mena Ray was more than the guy who handed the ball off to a back. His four carries went for 32 yards. When Harrel returned, his four went for 129 so the Bearcats got 161 yards from their quarterback position just one year after Harrel went for 185 against Mena.

A couple of the scores this year have looked like 7 times x – 35 versus Waldron and 42 versus Dardanelle – which is correct, but there has been a two point conversion or two in there to get things back on track. The same is true of a 48 in Subiaco and 41 versus Gravette.

Against Dardanelle when it was 27-0, Josh Smith took over at kicker and he was perfect on three tries the rest of the night. Friday he was perfect seven times making it 10 in a row in short order. Smith is the third different player to kick an extra point.

Both games were blowouts, as we have established, but after missing the Subiaco game with a nagging injury, linebacker Damon May has been back with a vengeance. May had six more tackles Friday in Mena. He also led the way against Dardanelle.

His Twitter handle is @fast_dont_lie23 and it’s fitting because Matt Berry’s 91-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter gives him the second longest pick 6 in Bearcat history – Dean Swint went 104 against Mansfield in 1988.

His 97-yard kickoff return is currently the longest I know of, though there are two players who insist theirs are 98 and 99 and I’m waiting on video evidence.