LITTLE ROCK — Jaden Ashford scored four touchdowns including one on a 47-yard punt return and Gideon Motes threw for two scores as the Bryant Blue Hornets eighth-grade football team opened the 2019 season with a 44-20 victory at Pinnacle View Middle School on Thursday.
The Hornets scored in rapid fashion early, building a 30-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. The Sky Hawks rallied to cut the lead to 30-20 before Bryant Blue put the game away with a pair of scores in the fourth quarter.
Along with his punt return to a TD, Ashford had TD runs of 14, 27 and 70 yards.
The Hornets’ opening possession resulted in Motes’ first touchdown pass, a 27-yard strike to Cason Trickey. Ashford ran in the two-point conversion.
The Blue defense forced a punt, leading to Ashford’s dash to the end zone on the return. Motes threw to Jonathan Mendez for the conversion to make it 16-0.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Hornets recovered, setting up Ashford’s second TD. Motes threw to Aiden Hughes for the conversion and it was 24-0.
Another stop by the Bryant Blue defense returned possession to the Hornets’ offense in short order and Ashford cashed in with his third touchdown near the end of the opening quarter.
Over the second and third quarters, the Sky Hawks scored 20 points. They had possession early in the fourth quarter but Seth Jenkins made an interception. Moments later, Motes found Mendez on a 65-yard touchdown pass to push the margin to 36-20.
Late in the game, Ashford put the finishing touches on the rout with his 70-yard sprint for paydirt. Chelton Murdock ran in the two-point conversion to set the final score.
“I thought we played very well offensively,” said Bryant Blue coach Josh Akers. “We simply got tired on defense from being on the field for a while. But we ended the game strong and I am pleased with how we pushed through to come out of there with a win.”
Bryant Blue will play a B game against Bryant White on Thursday, Sept. 5, then another B contest at Sheridan on Tuesday, Sept. 10. The A team returns to action on Thursday, Sept. 19, at Lake Hamilton.