Photos by Kevin Nagle
Myles Aldrige rushed for 162 yards and four touchdowns on just seven carries while quarterback Aiden Adams and wide receiver Blaine Sears combined on a 92-yard touchdown pass as the Bryant White Hornets eighth grade team of Bryant Middle School piled up a 34-0 lead on the way to a 40-20 win over the Lake Hamilton Wolves eighth graders Thursday night.
It was the first victory of the season for Bryant White, which opened on Sept. 6, with a 22-12 loss to Little Rock Horace Mann.
The Hornets scored on their first six possessions of the game (not counting a kneel down at the end of the first half.
Lake Hamilton countered with three second-half touchdowns including a 52-yard pass from Layne Warrick to Houston Way on the last play of the game.
Connor Coleman rushed for 51 yards and a score on seven totes for the Hornets.
Meanwhile, the Bryant White defense forced four turnovers. The first of those ended Lake Hamilton’s opening possession of the game. Austin Ledbetter had two interceptions while Coleman and Jimyle Harris recovered fumbles.
Ledbetter’s first oskie ended Lake Hamilton’s game-opening possession near midfield. From there it took two plays for the Hornets to find the end zone. Coleman slashed for 25 yards then Aldrige took it from there, 27-yards for his first TD.
On the Wolves’ next snap, Bryant White’s Gavin Bronson forced a fumble that Harris coverted. From the Lake Hamilton 37, the Hornets needed just four plays. Aiden Adams hit his first pass of the night to Ledbetter for 9 yards to open the series. Aldrige broke a 19-yard run and, a play later, Coleman crashed in for the touchdown from 5 yards out.
The Wolves lost yards on two of the three plays they ran following the kickoff. On a third-and-20, Coleman and Devyn Spurgeon dropped quarterback J.T. Bardwell for a 6-yard loss.
Punter Juan Maldonado’s short punt was returned 30 yards by Ledbetter to the Wolves’ 20. Ledbetter dashed to the 1 and, on the next play, Aldrige powered in for the score.
And when Aldrige ran in the two-point conversion, Bryant White led 20-0 with 6:24 still to play in the half.
The resulting kickoff was return 67 yards by Carlos Brewer. Aldrige saved the touchdown by knocking Brewer out of bounds at the Hornets’ 2.
Brewer, who also led the Wolves with 73 yards on six carries, was shaken up on the play and didn’t return until midway through the second half. And Lake Hamilton was unable to score.
A fumbled snap on first down was covered by Bardwell. On the next play, Maldonado bulled his way to the 1 only to fumble it. Coleman recovered for Bryant with 5:14 still to play in the half.
After getting hit in the backfield initially, Aldrige escaped, shedding would-be tacklers and blasting 19 yards to get the Hornets out of the hole. A holding penalty pushed them back but, on a second-and-22 at the 8, Adams found Sears alone behind the Lake Hamilton defense and hit him in stride. Sears outran the defense to the end zone.
Coleman ran in a two-point conversion and the Hornets held a 28-0 lead.
Lake Hamilton put a drive together to the Bryant 30 but, with time running out, Bardwell tried to throw deep down the right seam only to have Ledbetter pick it off. And he returned it 88 yards for a touchdown only to have it called back due to an illegal block in the back that just wasn’t.
Nevertheless, the half was over and Bryant led 28-0.
The Hornets got the ball to start the second half too. After grinding out a drive from their own 44 to the Lake Hamilton 37, Bryant faced a fourth-and-3. Aldrige got the call and not only did he pick up the first down, he went the distance for the TD.
A conversion would’ve made it a mercy rule game but a pass attempt fell short and it remained 34-0.
With Hornets coach Josh Fonville working in subs, Brewer broke loose for a 52-yard touchdown run to break the ice for the Wolves with 3:47 left in the third quarter. A try for two failed.
Bryant White answered in short order. On the third play of the subsequent series, Adams threw a lateral to Aldrige who blew past the first line of defense and rumbled down the left sideline on a 54-yard touchdown run with 2:08 left in the third quarter.
That completed the Hornets’ scoring.
Another long kickoff return, this time by Warrick set up a short drive for a second Wolves’ score. The 63-yard return reached the Bryant 4. It took three tries but eventually Weston Dobyns slashed in from 6-yards out.
Blake Johnson-McDonald ran in the conversion to make it 40-14.
Antoine Hughes contributed a 25-yard run to Bryant’s subsequent possession. And Ledbetter, playing at quarterback, appeared to break a touchdown run but once he got the first down he stepped out of bounds in a sportsmanship move.
As it turned out, the Hornets ate up four minutes of the quarter with the drive before a fumble occurred and was recovered by the Wolves’ Chase Berry.
Lake Hamilton drove to midfield before tacking on the touchdown pass on the final play of the game.
Bryant, now 1-1, will return to action on Thursday, Sept. 22, at North Little Rock.