BOONEVILLE -- It didn't take long for Booneville senior running back Ty Goff to make an impact Friday night at Bearcat Stadium.
Goff took the first two carries he got in the first quarter for touchdowns and had over 100 yards after those touches. Booneville (3-0) used that early momentum to pull away for a 43-12 victory against Mena (1-3) in a final tuneup nonconference game.
"We challenged the kids to play well early because we know Mena is a good opponent," Booneville coach Doc Crowley said. "We wanted to start fast, and we did."
Goff led the way for Booneville, finishing with nine carries for 217 yards and three touchdowns.
"I didn't even realize he had that many yards," Crowley said. "That is a kid that deserves it. He has worked so hard all summer and has paid his dues. I'm so happy for him. He is what a Bearcat football player is all about. He has come so far in the last year. The hard work is paying off for him."
Booneville junior quarterback Randon Ray added 136 yards on the ground on 13 carries including two touchdowns.
"He is a special player that we know at any time we can put the game on his shoulders," Crowley said. "He did a great job leading us down the field doing whatever it takes. He gives us everything he's got. We are lucky to have him."
Mena was led by quarterback Max Montgomery and the passing game. He finished 27 of 47 for 323 yards and two touchdowns.
"I thought he played well for us tonight," Mena coach Craig Bentley said. "He has been injured the last couple years. He has come back and showed a lot of guts. He just plays with a lot of heart and has taken the coaching he has gotten and made the most of it. I think he is just grateful to get the opportunity to come out here and play because he has missed time."
Montgomery's main target on the night was tight end Mason Brotherton, who hauled in five passes for 89 yards and a touchdown.
Booneville was able to take a 29-12 edge into halftime with the help of Goff on the ground and its defense coming up big with a scoreless second quarter.
Booneville took the opening possession of the game and needed just three plays to make it a 6-0 lead early in the first quarter after a missed extra-point attempt. Goff capped the drive with a 67-yard touchdown run.
Mena had a turnover on downs on its initial drive on a fourth-and-3 at its own 40. Booneville took advantage of the starting field position, needing just three plays to add to its edge.
Goff ended the drive again this time with a 36-yard touchdown rush. Colten Ritchie converted the two-point play on the rush to give Booneville a 14-0 lead with about eight minutes left in the first quarter.
Mena found success on its second drive of the night, marching 80 yards and scoring a touchdown on a third down. Montgomery found Brotherton for a 47-yard touchdown. That made it 14-6 after a failed kick in the first quarter.
Booneville responded with a touchdown of its own with Ray scoring on a 2-yard touchdown rush late in the first quarter.
Mena capped its first-quarter scoring with Montgomery connecting with Sam Efird on a 7-yard touchdown pass. That made it a 21-12 Booneville lead after a failed two-point conversion in the first quarter.
On the following drive, Booneville was forced to punt the ball on a three-and-out drive in the second quarter. Mena took the ball all the way down to the Booneville 11 but had a pass dropped in the end zone on fourth down.
Booneville took advantage of the momentum, scoring just one play later. Goff went 89 yards for a rushing touchdown. On the extra-point attempt, Goff caught a bad snap then found Dunn Daniel for a two-point conversion and a 29-12 lead with eight minutes left before the break.
It was all Booneville in the second half. The Bearcats needed just four plays on the opening drive of the third quarter. Ray ended the drive with a 1-yard touchdown, giving Booneville a 36-12 advantage.
Booneville ended its scoring for the night in the fourth quarter to extend its edge out to 43-12 with a 1-yard touchdown run from Ethan Wooldridge. The touchdown was set up by an interception by Jacob Herrera, who finished with two in the game.
"They got some good players over there with their quarterback and some weapons," Crowley said. "It was a great effort to hold them to just 12 points. Our defense knew it would be a tough battle. But they came out and played Bearcat football."
Booneville now remains unbeaten and heads into conference play next week against Two Rivers on the road with a perfect 3-0 record.
"We feel good heading into conference play," Crowley said. "I told the kids that the nonconference schedule would challenge us. I don't think many people expected us to be 3-0 right now. I think that goes to show this team has really come together. I told them they could be something special if they keep working hard."
• Booneville now leads the all-time series 42-19-1 in this matchup.
• Booneville had three interceptions in the game (two from Jacob Herrera and one from Chance Broussard).
• Mena quarterback Max Montgomery has now passed for 830 yards in four games this season.
• Booneville enters 3A-4 Conference play by going on the road to play Two Rivers next week. Mena kicks off 4A-4 Conference play by traveling to Waldron next week.
Booneville 43, Mena 12
Boone — Goff 67 rush (kick failed), 11:28
Boone — Goff 36 rush (Ritchie run), 8:27
Mena — Brotherton 47 pass from Montgomery, (kick failed), 7:03
Boone — 6 Ray 2 run (Kent kick), 4:30
Mena — Efrid 7 pass from Montgomery (pass failed), 2:19
Boone — Goff 89 run (Goff pass to Daniel), 7:52
Boone — Ray 1 run (Kent kick), 9:04
Boone — Wooldridge 1 run (Kent kick), 9:52