It only took just over two extra hours, but Booneville was able to capture its first state championship in 13 years on Friday night.
Despite two hours and nine minutes of weather delays, the Bearcats beat the Lumberjacks 14-12 for the Class 4A state title, their first since 2000.
With the rain coming down at a steady pace early on, Booneville’s run-based offensive attack was able to give them the upper hand, with a 3-yard dive by Bryson May making it 7-0 with 5:00 left in the first quarter. The score came after Warren quarterback Drake Jones fumbled on a handoff exchange at the Lumberjacks 24 yard line.
After trading punts, Booneville again kept the ball on the ground and May scored the games second touchdown on a 5-yard run with 7:44 left in the second quarter.
Warren had just punted for the third time when the game was halted for one-hour and 23 minutes by a lightning delay with 3:30 left in the half. When the game resumed, Matthew Berry picked off Jones in the endzone with four seconds left in the half to halt the final drive of the quarter for Warren.
The teams got through half of the third quarter when the second weather delay — this one lasting 46 minutes — was called.
When the game began again, Booneville was unable to convert on a 4th and long in Warren territory. The Lumberjacks began going with their no-huddle scheme on the ensuing drive, tiring out the Bearcats and resulting in a touchdown on a 6-yard run by Kilay Cox with 2:22 left in the quarter.
The Lumberjacks kept the momentum on Booneville’s next drive, intercepting Harrel when his pass was deflected by Kendrick Newton and intercepted by DeQuan Daniels at the Warren 19-yard line. It led to a punt later in the drive. The Lumberjacks got within two on a 21-yard run by Cox with 4:47 let in the game, but failed on the two-point conversion that would’ve tied the game.
Warren got the ball back for one final drive with just over a minute remaining, but Berry intercepted Jones for the second time in the game, this one at the Booneville 16-yard line, on fourth down to clinch the title.
Read more about this story in tomorrow’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.