Booneville was essentially being counted out after it’s week seven loss to Mena.
That 22-21 loss dropped the Bearcats to 4-3. But it appears that was the wake up call coach Scott Hyatt’s team needed.
Booneville (7-3) has run off three straight wins, including back-to-back wins against Pottsville and Maumelle, to take the 4A-4 title and earned a bye in the first round of the playoffs.
Awaiting the Bearcats is a Newport (8-3) team that scored 46 points in the opening round win against Farmington and a high powered rushing attack.
“They`ve got some talented players,” defensive tackle Jesse Frost said. “They are pretty young but they can make some pretty big plays. We`ll have to play hard to beat them.”
Booneville hasn’t given up more than 22 points since week three but Hyatt knows they are in for a challenge this week.
“Newport`s offense, they can score from anywhere on the field at any time,” Hyatt said. “They have a freshman running back that is a grown man. He ran for 300 yards and carried the ball 35 times last week against Farmington. They`ve got speed at every position.”
The Bearcats aren’t exactly dull on offense either. Quarterback Cody Harrel became just the fourth different signal caller in school history to rush for more than 1,000 yards. Harrell now has 1,037 yards on the ground with 14 touchdowns along with two scoring tosses.
The off week was spent trying to heal and offensive lineman Hunter Townsend said the Bearcats have worked on the little thing.
“We practiced hard every day, tried to have a focused practice,” Townsend said. “We were all trying to make sure we had everything down. This is a big game for us.”
Booneville took down Newport, 35-7, in the opening round of the playoffs in 2010. Turning the trick again would put the Bearcats in the quarterfinals with a matchup with one of three teams that tripped up Booneville in the regular season – Mena or Ozark.