In what Bearcat Head Football Coach Craig Bentley predicted to be best game of the week in the state of Arkansas, the Mena Bearcats defeated the Prescott Curley Wolves in an overtime thriller.
“We told the kids it was going to be the best game in the state, and it sure lived up to that,” said Bentley.
Mena was the first team to get on the scoreboard when Max Montgomery hit Cauy House with a 7-yard touchdown pass with 8:39 left in the first quarter. The Bearcats missed the PAT, but took the games first lead 6-0.
About four minutes later, Mena scored again on a 3-yard pass from Montgomery to senior Zane Stephens. This time the Bearcats went for two-point conversion and came up empty, making the score 12-0 with 2:48 left in the first period of play.
The next score in the game came via a 27-yard field goal by Mena’s Luiz Pessoa. Pessoa’s field goal extended the Bearcats lead to 15-0 in the second quarter with 7:25 left to play before halftime.
Each team went scoreless for the remainder of the quarter, until the Curley Wolves reached the end zone with twenty-six second left in the half on a 39-yard touchdown pass. Prescott made the PAT to make the eventual halftime score 15-7 in favor of the Bearcats.
The Curley Wolves waisted no time to start the second half. With still 11:06 remaining in the third quarter, Prescott scored on a 4-yard touchdown run, but failed to convert for two points, lessening Mena’s lead to 15-13.
Mena was able to answer about six minutes later, when Montgomery three a 33-yard touchdown pass to senior Marc Wilson. The Bearcats were successful on the PAT, to re-strengthen their lead to 22-13 with 4:52 remaining in the third period of play.
With twenty-nine seconds left in the third quarter, the Curley Wolves added on another score with a 5-yard touchdown pass. Prescott made the PAT to cut the Bearcats lead to 22-20 going into the fourth quarter.
The Bearcats scored quite early in the fourth quarter when Zane Stephens ran in for a 4-yard touchdown. Mena’s PAT was made, making the score 29-20 with 9:24 left in regulation.
However, it didn’t take long for the Curley Wolves to answer with a score for themselves. Prescott ran in for a 9-yard touchdown just two short minutes later, cutting the Bearcats lead down to a field goal, 29-26.
Mena was unable to extend their lead again, but fortunately held the Curley Wolves to a field goal with just two second left in the fourth quarter. Prescott drained the field goal, to tie the game 29-29. The Bearcats regained possession of the ball following the field goal, but missed a field goal attempt of their own, sending the game to overtime.
In overtime, Mena’s Zane Stephens scored on a 25-yard touchdown run on the Bearcats first play in the extra period. Mena made the PAT to untie the game and take the lead 36-29.
Not long after Mena’s touchdown, the Curley Wolves answered with one of their own. However, Prescott went for two points instead of one, in which the Mena defense came up with one of the most memorable defensive stops if Bearcat history, to give their team the 36-35 victory.
“This was a really good win for our team against a really good team,” said Coach Bentley following his teams win.
However, the Mena squad does to need to clean up their penalties said Coach Bentley. The Coach added, “We faced some adversity throughout the game, but I thought we handled that well.
Bentley commented on the Mena crowd saying, “The atmosphere was awesome, and the student section was great!”
Unfortunately for Bentley and the Bearcats, junior quarterback Max Montgomery suffered an ACL injury in the second half of the game on Friday and will miss significant time according to the head Bearcat.
Going forward, Bentley says that senior Zane Stephens will take over for Mena at the quarterback position. “He will give us a but of a dual threat with his running ability. But he can throw the ball as well.”
From the passing perspective against Prescott, Montgomery led Mena with 191 yards on 11 completions with 3 total touchdowns.
In receiving, Zane Stephens caught 6 passes for the Bearcats for 83 yards and 1 touchdown. Cauy House brought down 2 passes for 56 yards and 1 touchdown, and Marc Wilson caught 2 passes for 45 yards and 1 touchdown.
Stephens also led Mena with 117 rushing yards on 10 carries with 2 touchdowns. Jake Wiles carried the ball 34 yards on 13 carries, while Andrew Graves added on 28 yards, and Cash Parker 24 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, Marc Wilson and Sam Efird both recorded an interception each, while Cauy House recovered a fumble. Shaun Bass and House also tallied one sack each.
Jayden Castillo led the team in tackles with 12 total. Marc Wilson brought down 11 tackles, while Iaza Ingoglia recorded 10, and Efird and House 8 each.
This week the Bearcats are set to travel to Hot Springs High School to take on the talented Trojans. Coach Bentley says the Trojans are a “really good, athletic team.”
According to hootens.com, the Bearcats are ranked #8 in the 4A, while Hot Springs ranks at the 24th best team in the 5A classification. Hootens also lists Mena as a three-point underdog to the Trojans.
Going into this Friday in Hot Springs, Bentley notes, “As much fun as last week was, we don’t want that to be the highlight of our year.”