The Booneville Bearcats turned on the Friday night lights for the second straight year for a full contact practice just after midnight on a Saturday morning.
But, for the first four plays all of the contact came in the trenches as offensive regulars gashed a defense made up of one-way starters and twos.
Of course most coaches agree offenses are generally ahead of defenses at this point in the preseason and an offense that has virtually all of its starters back, and three of the four being seniors, may cause that gap to be even wider.
Starting quarterback Brandon Ulmer accounted for 1,572 yards of total offense, actually passing for more, 810, than rushing, 762, to lead the Bearcats during a 10-2 campaign. He averaged 6 yards per carry and scored five touchdowns on the ground while throwing for nine TDs.
Halfbacks Michael Hesson and Andrew Robertson are also back. Hesson averaged 6 yards a carry as well with 492 yards and another five touchdowns. Robertson, who shared time as a sophomore but had more carries than his counterpart, had a 6.9 yard per carry average with 393 yards and seven touchdowns.
That leaves fullback Carson Ray, whose 4.7 yard per carry clip is the lowest of the starters, but that is skewed a little in that his goal line duty resulted in multiple short runs but six points. He scored 15 touchdowns and ran for 637 yards.
Ray has 20 touchdowns in two seasons and has run for more than 1,000 yards. Ulmer has more than 1,100 on the ground and more than 1,200 in the air over the same two seasons.
The day six practice Saturday morning, technically, came after an ice cream social, hours of video games and hanging out, and a short shoulder pads and helmet practice to satisfy the five day requirements of two days in helmets and shorts and two days in shoulder pads and limited contact.
The full contact scrimmage, which drew a crowd of about 110 to the practice field — the game field is still being prepared for the Aug. 16 scrimmage against Dardanelle and Aug. 24 season opener against Clarksville — started with tackle drills before moving to the offensive and defensive team sessions.
The practice wrapped up shortly before 2 a.m. with about half of the crowd still in attendance.
Anyone unable to see the Bearcats in the witching hour Saturday can see them this Friday evening when they take on the little league teams, followed by another full contract Purple-Gold scrimmage, also at the practice field.
The little league scrimmage is an event Scott Hyatt started when he became the Bearcat head coach 12 seasons ago.