September 12 in Bryant athletic history: 2009

Another big first half sends Hornets on their way to another blowout win

EDITOR’S NOTE: Because the look back at each day in Bryant athletic history has been so favorably received during the time when there was no sports during the COVID-19 shutdown, will continueposting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).

Bryant senior Brandon Parish hauls in a 44-yard touchdown pass. (Photo by Rick Nation)By Rob Patrick

SHERIDAN — In his pregame radio show, Bryant head coach Paul Calley recalled the series between the Hornets and the Sheridan Yellowjackets before it was interrupted after the 2003 season. At least in the years after the turnaround of the Bryant program in 1999, he recalled that, no matter what the record, the Hornets struggled when they visited Sheridan.

“It was like we were 14 points down when we got off the bus,” he quipped.

That interview, actually, was just the culmination of what he’d been talking about all week long to his players. Yes, the Hornets thumped the Yellowjackets 35-0 in Bryant last year but, if things returned to earlier form, such would not be the case this season.

So much for history.[more]

A trio of Hornets defenders drive Sheridan runner Alden Fletcher to the ground. (Photo by Rick Nation)

Calley had urged his team all week to jump on the Jackets early, get them down and keep them there. And that’s just what the Hornets did.

On the opening kickoff, Tanner Tolbert sprinted right up the middle of the field for an 89-yard touchdown. Eleven seconds into the contest, the Jackets had done been jumped on.

Brandon Parish, kicking in place of injured sophomore Jace Denker, booted the extra point and it was 7-0.

The Hornets had opened the game with a bang but the big noise-maker hadn’t gotten on the field yet. Senior running back Chris Rycraw, who had needed just eight carries to amass 188 yards the previous week against the rival Benton Panthers nearly duplicated the yards (187 yards) on 13 tries this week, tacking on a pair of pass receptions for another 37 stripes. He scored three times.

In two games, Rycraw has gained 376 yards rushing on 21 carries, an average of almost 19 yards a carry.

And his back-up, senior James Jones got 106 yards out of his 13 carries, scoring twice, part of a night when the Hornets produced 440 yards of offense.

In fact, the Hornets scored on each of its four possessions after the opening TD. They built a 35-3 halftime line and cruised to a 49-3 romp to improve to 2-0 this season.

The only thing that marred the evening for Bryant was a broken leg suffered by junior linebacker Collin Chapdelaine.

For the second week in a row, the Hornets had thumped a past and (perhaps) future conference rival. They’ll take on another, Texarkana, in their home opener on Friday, Feb. 18. Benton, Sheridan and Texarkana are all 6A-South Conference teams. Up until 2001, Bryant was a part of that league with them.

If Tolbert’s runback was the first clue that it might not be Sheridan’s night, the second came when, on the Jackets’ first possession, two open receivers dropped passes thrown by senior quarterback Eric Eggburn.

Chris Rycraw, 21, cuts upfield with teammate Austin Johnson (75) and Kaleb Burns (51) clearing the way. (Photo by Rick Nation)

The Jackets punted it back to Bryant and Rycraw got warmed up with runs of 10 and 7 yards. Quarterback Jimi Easterling, who completed his first five passes in the game and finished 8 of 13 for 134 yards and a score, got Parish into the act in his more customary role as a receiver. After the leading the team in receptions last year, the senior didn’t get one in the opener against Benton. So, it wasn’t surprising he got the first call in game two. The short pass picked up 8 yards but it set up the next play when Parish made a move to draw the defense and raced past them. Easterling found him in stride for a 44-yard touchdown that made it 13-0.

Though Parish was good on four of five extra points, he missed the one after his score when a snap that was a bit high and inside led to a hold that was a little slow and a kick that fluttered.

Chris Arnold, left, tries to break through the tackle of Sheridan's Cameron Holland (1) and Austin McClure (20). (Photo by Rick Nation)

Sheridan responded with its best drive of the night, driving from its own 32 to the Bryant 13 behind the running of Eggburn and tailback Tyler Cole. On first down from the 13, however, Cole ran into Ryan Cox and Hunter Mayall and lost a couple of yards. The next play was spoiled by a procedure penalty — the first of series of poorly timed infractions for the Jackets.

On second down, Eggburn had yet another pass dropped. On third down, he fumbled the snap from sophomore Zach Pyle, Sheridan’s third center. The Jackets had come into the game without starter Coy Appleberry then lost his replacement, tackle Brandon Rieve along the way.

Brandon Womble came on to drill a 31-yard field goal to get Sheridan on the board.

The Jackets would never get that close to the end zone again.

But the game was still somewhat in doubt when the Hornets got the ball back after a nice kickoff return by Logan Garland. Going to the air, a pair of incompletions opened the possession but, on both occasions, the Sheridan defensive backs were flagged for holding. It appeared they were trying to jam the Bryant receivers and the officials ruled they were holding them up too much.

Collin Chapdelaine gives a thumbs-up as he's carted from the field. (Photo by Rick Nation)

A rather lengthy protest was lodged by Sheridan head coach Benji White and, a play later, Bryant was flagged for holding.

Unfazed, however, the Hornets drove for another score, set up by a swing pass from Easterling to Rycraw that the running back turned into a 25-yard gain.

On three rushes, Rycraw reached the 15. From there, Easterling completed a pass to Brady Butler that got the 6. Rycraw took it in from there.

The Hornets went for two to make up for the missed extra points and Easterling found defensive tackle-turned-tight end Josh Hampton, who went down and got the ball in the back of the end zone to make it 21-3.

In turn, Sheridan’s offense lost five yards in three plays with Hampton, Dustin Grimmett and Matt Jones making plays for the Bryant defense.

A fumbled snap on the subsequent punt resulted in a short kick and Bryant took over 31 yards away from paydirt. Rycraw almost went the distance on the first play, slashing through the Sheridan defense for 28 yards. A play later, the Hornets were flagged for being offsides but Rycraw scored from the 6 to bump up the lead further.

Sheridan’s next possession was doomed after Blake Heil sacked Eggburn back to the 10 and soon the Jackets were punting again.

James Jones picked up 106 yards on 13 carries for the Hornets against Sheridan. (Photo by Rick Nation)

And Rycraw was off to the races again. His 41-yard dart included repeated cutbacks and broken tackles. Jones took over from there and in three plays found the end zone to make it 35-3 with 5:36 still to play in the first half.

Thanks in large part to a 28-yard completion from Eggburn to Zach Perkins, the Jackets drove to the Bryant 31 before stalling. Womble came on to try a 48 yard field goal and had enough distance only to have it hook to the left.

Trying to put a two-minute drill together, the Hornets drove from the 20 to midfield. Easterling completed passes to Rycraw and Sawyer Nichols to get there but his next try was picked off by linebacker Bailey McIver.

McIver returned the ball to the Bryant 43 but, on first down there, Ronnie Maxwell sacked Eggburn for a loss of 8. Sheridan eventually had to punt but the Jackets got the ball back in short order pouncing on a Bryant fumble with :14 left in the half.

Two plays later, Womble came on to try a 47-yard field goal but, though he was strong enough again, it went wide left again on the final play of the half.

The two teams traded punts in the third quarter until the Hornets got the ball at their own 38 with 1:26 left in the period. After a 4-yard pickup, Rycraw cut loose for one final touchdown, a scintillating 58-yard jaunt.

Parish made it 42-3 going into the fourth quarter.

Sheridan, in turn, went three and out. The Hornets finished up the lopsided win with its reserves marching 77 yards in 10 plays. Jones carried on nine of those snaps and had runs of 13, 12 and 20 along the way, setting up his 1-yard plunge with 2:31 left in the game.

Since 1971, the 46-point margin was the largest for a Bryant team against Sheridan.


Score by quarters

BRYANT 13 22 7 7 — 49

Sheridan 3 0 0 0 — 3

Scoring summary

First quarter 

BRYANT – Tolbert 89 yard kickoff return (Parish kick), 11:49

BRYANT – Parish 44 pass from Easterling (kick failed), 9:09

SHERIDAN — Womble 31 field goal, 2:40

Second quarter

BRYANT – Rycraw 6 run (Hampton pass from Easterling), 11:54

BRYANT — Rycraw 6 run (Parish kick), 8:21

BRYANT – Jones 6 run (Parish kick), 5:36

Third quarter

BRYANT – Rycraw 58 run (Parish kick), 0:39

Fourth quarter

BRYANT – Jones 1 run (Parish kick), 2:31

Team stats

BRYANT  Sheridan

First downs 19 7

Rushes-yards 30-306 32-73

Passing 8-13-1 7-20-0

Passing yards 134 78

Punts-avg. 2-34.0 7-37.8

Fumbles-lost 1-1 4-0

Penalties-yds. 8-55 10-65


Rushing: BRYANT, Rycraw 13-187, Jones 13-106, Easterling 3-11, Reed 1-2; SHERIDAN, Cole 14-56, Fletcher 8-16, Eggburn 9-0.

Passing (C-A-I-Y): BRYANT, Easterling 8-13-1-134; SHERIDAN, Eggburn 7-20-0-78.

Receiving: BRYANT, Parish 3-48, Rycraw 2-37, Arnold 1-22, Nichols 1-18, Butler 1-9; SHERIDAN, Perkins 3-43, Moore 2-21, Miller 2-14.

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