Thought the past months have been about as different as possible, a sense of normalcy is coming to Mena as the Bearcat Football team kicks off their season.
Coach Craig Bentley enters his second year as the head coach of the Bearcats. Due to the coronavirus, the Bearcats were unable to get to work until mid-June, according to Bentley.
“We were able to get back in the middle of June. But even though we were back, we weren’t back to normal.”
While football will give a sense or normal with sports returning, attending events will not be so normal given numerous guidelines and protocols are in affect to help continue Mena’s football season.
Bentley noted, “We’re doing our part as far as the as the protocol process, to make sure we’re keeping these kids safe, and to make sure football continues in Arkansas.”
“We practiced the protocols this offseason just as much as we practiced the X’s and O’s of the team. Now, we’re able to get a whole lot accomplished, despite all of the protocols.”
During the offseason, Bentley said the entire senior class has stood out to him. “The senior class is just a great group of Bearcats.”
The head Bearcats added, “A lot of them have played together since the 2nd grade, so we’re excited to see what they can do.”
Bentley also noted, “We are very proud of our sophomores and juniors. We fell they’ve done a great job of finding their role with the team.”
In game number two of last season, Mena quarterback Max Montgomery went down with an injury. This year, Montgomery looks to make in impact in his senior season.
“He’s fully recorded and he’s looked great,” said Bentley. “He’s back, and he’s really developed as a player and as a leader.”
“I think he can be one of the best quarterbacks in the state, without a doubt.”
Another key player for Mena is Kansas commit Mason Brotherton.
“Mason is a very privileged worker. He gets work done before, during, and after practice.”
Bentley stated, “He runs great routes, he’s got great hands, and he has become much more of a physical player.”
According to Bentley, we can expect to see the future Jayhawk on the defensive side of the ball as well.
Also on the offense, you can expect running back Jake Wiles to impress.
“I like to call Jake a physical and punishing runner,” Bentley noted.”
“He has a lot of power and momentum behind his running.”
Wiles will also start at safety for Mena on defense.
For this season, Coach Bentley’s key on defense is to be great tacklers. “We have to be physical, and we have to be great tacklers. If you can’t tackle, then it doesn’t matter where you line up or what you are doing.”
Bentley noted on his coaching staff, “We take a lot of pride is preparing and being prepared.”
As far as expectations go for this season, Bentley said, “We expect to compete for a conference championship, and once that is complete, go and make some noise in the playoffs.”
After a 39-0 win over the De Queen Leopards in week one, the Bearcats will be back in action this Friday at Bearcat Stadium against Harding Academy for their home opener.