BJHS showing in jamboree impressive
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, BryantDaily.com will continueposting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on BryantDaily.com (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).
By ROB PATRICK
Bryant Junior High Mustangs head coach Scott Neathery and his staff were a little concerned about their team’s offense coming into Monday’s pre-season jamboree at Bryant Stadium.
“I’ll tell you, in practice, we really haven’t looked very good offensively,” said Neathery. “We weren’t executing very well. But, the thing is, we’ve been going against our defense. This year, we’re two-platooning and our defense has been pretty salty so far. So, I think that’s helped us.”
There didn’t appear to be much of a problem Monday for either the offense or the defense of the Mustangs. Playing two halves against different opponents, the offense rolled up 44 points, 391 yards of offense and 16 first downs with only one turnover. Meanwhile, the defense limited those two teams — Central Arkansas Junior High Conference South Division rivals Conway Blue and Sheridan — to 32 yards of offense and just one first down (which came near the end of the scrimmage) combined.
“We knew that our defense was going to be pretty good,” Neathery said. “That’s the one thing we knew about this team. They’ve got a lot of fire, a lot of enthusiasm. They’re fun to coach. I thought they did great tonight, running to the ball, and gang-tackling.
“I was pleased with our execution on offense,” he added. “We used four quarterbacks, three ninth graders and one eighth grader.”
Three of those quarterbacks threw touchdowns passes and the fourth, freshman Todd Bryan, just took took four snaps and still drove the team to a field goal which Bryan, himself, booted from 26 yards out. His 13-yard run and 9-yard pass completion to Brandon Butler set up the 3-pointer.
Starter Bryan Griffith completed 9 of 12 passes in the scrimmage for 140 yards and two touchdowns. Rett Hatcher was 2-for-3 in the air for 23 yards and a score and eighth-grader Anthony Mask completed all five of his aerials for 107 yards including a 42-yard touchdown completion to Travis Wood on the last play of the scrimmage.
Mask, in fact, may have given Neathery a new option at quarterback that might free up the versatile and athletic Griffith to help elsewhere. He was that impressive.
Bryant’s running game produced too. Fullback Chris Drye rushed for 55 yards on nine carries, scoring twice and Landon Bullock had a pair of nice runs.
In the first half, Conway’s offense wound up with 19 yards rushing in 13 plays without a first down. The Mustangs, in the meantime, scored on each of their four possessions.
On the opening drive, Griffith completed 3-of-4 passes and Drye made a 15-yard run to convert a fourth down as the Mustangs marched 70 yards in nine plays. Drye scored from the 1.
Griffith’s first touchdown pass, a 16-yarder to Bryan, came just before the end of the first quarter. He added an 8-yard TD toss to Josh Rice before turning the reins over to Bryan.
In the second half, Sheridan, playing without a break after scrimmaging Conway White, was limited to 13 yards of offense and the lone first down.
Griffith, Hatcher and Mask, meanwhile, combined for nine completions in 11 attempts for 156 yards as the Mustangs never had to punt.
Hatcher’s TD toss covered 6 yards to Rice. Mask then completed four passes in as many plays to highlight a 42-yard touchdown drive that was capped by Drye’s second 1-yard TD plunge.
The defense got the ball back for the Mustangs with :16 left and Mask, rolling left, threw a strike to Travis Wood, on the run inside the 20. Wood outran the defense into the end zone.