Rivals Meet Again, This Time With Title Berth At Stake

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It's not just a rematch that all of Arkansas high school football fans wanted to see. It's a rematch that they expected to see.

Booneville will make a return trip to Charleston Friday in the 3A semifinals as they two will battle it out with a state championship game berth on the line.

The two teams have been ranked No. 1 and No. 2 all season long but Booneville knows they have to execute better than the first time they met, a 47-20 loss, if they hope to turn the tides.

"They exposed some of our weaknesses and we knew if we were going to get back here and have a chance to beat them, we’re going to have to correct some things," Booneville coach Scott Hyatt said.

The Bearcats have been on a tear since the week nine meeting as Booneville has won four straight and are averaging 51 points a game during that stretch. The play on the field hasn't changed but if you ask the team, it's their state of mind that has been corrected.

"Before we were a bunch of individuals," Booneville fullback/linebacker Bryson May said. "We weren’t playing as a team. Now we’re playing as a team and we’re starting to click."

"Four weeks ago we weren’t a football team," Booneville quarterback James Ray said. "We had a lot of individuals, we kind of want to play for ourselves. Really feel like the Lavaca week we gelled and realized the true meaning of being a team is playing for each other and playing for your brothers."

Charleston has also had little resistance since the Halloween date with the Bearcats but they've seen in the improvement in this week's opponent.

"They just gotten better in every aspect of the game," Charleston receiver Tanner Lynch said. "They’ve got their quarterback back and they’ve been running the ball hard and executing in every phase."

The Tigers are looking for their 28th straight win but Charleston said if they hope to get back to War Memorial Stadium they have to put together another complete effort.

"We had a great game plan going in and we executed it," Charleston quarterback Ty Storey said. "That’s the main thing and we’re trying establish that again. It’s another game. We can’t look back too much on that game. We just have to get ready to play this game."

"The progression we’ve made from week nine to week (13) has been huge," Charleston coach Greg Kendrick said. "I think we’re getting better and better every day and we definitely haven’t peaked yet."