In their first road contest of the season, the Mena Bearcats traveled to Hot Springs and fought past the Trojans 10-6 in a defensive battle.
Hot Springs reached the scoreboard first, with a 36-yard touchdown pass from Isaac Shelor to Mailk Brewer, to make the score 6-0 after a missed PAT, with 4:12 remaining in the first quarter of play.
With less than a minute left in the first half, Mena finally put up some points when Zane Stephens connected with Gaven Hooper for a 24-yard catch-and-run touchdown. Luiz Pessoa drained the point-after-attempt, giving the Bearcats the 7-6 lead.
Following halftime festivities, the Bearcats were the first and only team to score in the second half. Luiz Pessoa connected on his 23-yard field goal attempt, extending Mena’s lead and making the eventual final score 10-6 with 8:37 left in the third quarter.
Both teams continued to battle for the remainder of the game, however, no points were scored.
“It was tough, grind it out ballgame,” said Bearcat Head Coach Craig Bentley.
“I am really proud of our kids for fighting though adversity.”
Bentley was excited about the Bearcats win saying, “I can remember some touch losses in Hot Springs, so it was nice to get over there and get a great win in that kind of fashion.”
The first-year Bearcat Coach noted on his teams defense, “I thought we had great defensive pressure on them all night.” And while they scored only 10 points, Bentley was happy with Mena’s offensive stating, “I thought our guys did a good job of moving the football and chewing clock when necessary.”
Going into Friday’s game, the Bearcats were 3-point underdogs to Hot Springs, and were ranked #8 in the 4A by hootens.com. This week, Mena has moved up two spots to #6 in Hooten’s 4A rankings, and the Bearcats will take advantage of a week off.
Coach Bentley says on the bye week, “We want to try to heal our bodies this week, and then slowly start preparing for Ozark to come to town. Next week will be a regular game week for us.”
With Mena’s win last Friday, the Bearcats have now won 5 of their last 6 games against the Hot Springs Trojans.