Mena — The Leopards knew it would be an uphill struggle. They could not convert their early momentum to points, then events snowballed out of control. De Queen fell to Mena 36-0 in the football season opener Aug. 30.
The game’s early moment gave no prediction of the final score. “We had a nine play drive, then an eight play drive,” said De Queen head coach Stephen Sloan. “Then we had three turnovers in a row. When you have turnovers, that usually leads to points.”
Mena took the lead on 50 yard run by Jake Wiles with 8:20 to go in the first quarter. Mark Wilson caught a 25 yard pass for a second Bearcat TD with 2:07 in the first. The three other Mena scores came in the second quarter.
“They are a quality team,” Sloan said of the Bearcats. “They have a lot of experience back from last year, eight starters on offense and seven on defense. There is nothing better than having experience. It just gives you confidence.”
De Queen in contrast has two offensive starters from last season. “Aaron Figueroa had a good game,” Sloan said of the left tackle, who has two years experience as a starter.
The coach saw some other bright spots. Kade Martin had a dozen tackles. Kicker Melvin Cerda in his first ever football game put De Queen’s lone kick off into the end zone. Marquez Ester averaged 31 yards per kick off return.
“Everything is fixable,” said the coach.
Statistically turnovers were important. De Queen lost the ball six times to Mena’s two.
The Leopards had 115 yards of total offense, 100 by rushing. They converted onntwo of eight third downs to Mena’s six of nine.