OF­FENSE rules in Class 3A cham­pi­onship.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - Sports - JEREMY MUCK

Booneville Coach Scott Hy­att spoke with his con­tem­po­rary from Ri­son ear­lier this week to get his thoughts on to­day’s Class 3A state cham­pi­onship op­po­nent, Osce­ola.

Clay Totty, whose Wild­cats lost 37-28 at Osce­ola in last Satur­day’s Class 3A semi­fi­nals, was bru­tally hon­est with Hy­att when it came to the Semi­noles’ high-pow­ered of­fense that av­er­ages 44.3 points per game.

“Coach Totty said field po­si­tion doesn’t mean any­thing to those guys,” Hy­att said. “They can score at any time.”

The Bearcats will get their shot at the Semi­noles to­day at noon at War Me­mo­rial Sta­dium in Lit­tle Rock.

Booneville (14-0) has been the Arkansas Demo­crat-Gazette’s No. 1 team in Class 3A all sea­son. The Bearcats are av­er­ag­ing 42.3 points per game and are play­ing in their first state cham­pi­onship game since 2013, when they de­feated War­ren in the Class 4A ti­tle game.

Se­nior full­back Car­son Ray leads the Bearcats of­fen­sively, rush­ing for 1,595 yards and 30 touch­downs.

“Car­son has been a great leader on and off the field,” Hy­att said. “He’s played the way we’ve ex­pected him to. It means some­thing to him.

“He wants to leave his mark on Booneville.”

Osce­ola Coach Robert Hooks said he’s been im­pressed with the Bearcats through­out the sea­son.

“They’re a very strong and phys­i­cal team,” Hooks said. “They have some speed. I think they have 2-3 guys as fast as any­body we have. It’s go­ing to be a great chal­lenge.”

Osce­ola (13-1) is mak­ing its first state cham­pi­onship game ap­pear­ance since 1998. Hooks ar­rived in the Mis­sis­sippi County town in 2017 af­ter serv­ing as an as­sis­tant at Bryant un­der Buck James and had high ex­pec­ta­tions early on for the Semi­noles.

“I sold them a dream,” Hooks said. “I told them we have the tal­ent, the ath­letes to be state cham­pi­ons. But tal­ent with­out any work or dis­ci­pline, you’ll be a loser. But if you have some self-dis­ci­pline and/or lead­ers, you have a chance to be a state cham­pion.

I didn’t think play­ing in a state cham­pi­onship would hap­pen this fast. But I’m very, very ex­cited and grate­ful to be here.”

The Semi­noles are led by sopho­more quar­ter­back Kam

Turner (2,472 of­fen­sive yards, 38 touch­downs), se­nior wide re­ceiver Jariq Scales (6 touch­downs) and junior wide re­ceiver Greg Hooks (10 touch­downs).

Hy­att is aware of the Semi­noles’ speed and is hope­ful the Bearcats can keep the ball away from the Semi­noles.

“We can’t match up with their speed,” Hy­att said. “If we ran a track meet, they would wear us down.

“We just have to play the style of ball we play. We have to control the ball and run the clock. If we can keep the ball, we can be suc­cess­ful.”

Booneville lost se­nior start­ing quar­ter­back Bran­don Ulmer to a knee in­jury in its sea­son opener against Clarksville on Aug. 23. The in­jury didn’t de­ter the Bearcats, as they are un­de­feated with backup quar­ter­back Ethan Sch­linker (14 touch­down passes).

Booneville is at­tempt­ing to win its first state ti­tle since 2013 and fourth over­all (1986, 2000, 2013).

“It would be awe­some [to win],” Hy­att said. “It’s what ev­ery­body works for.”

Mean­while, Osce­ola hasn’t won a state ti­tle since 1997, when it de­feated McGe­hee for the then-Class AAA cham­pi­onship.

“It would be big for the city,” Scales said. “It hasn’t been done in 21 years. It would fol­low you for­ever.”

NWA Demo­crat-Gazette/BEN GOFF

Booneville se­nior full­back Car­son Ray has rushed for 1,595 yards and 30 touch­downs head­ing into to­day’s Class 3A cham­pi­onship game against Osce­ola.

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