For more photos from this event by Kevin Nagle, go here
Before they could really get their feet under them, the Bryant White Hornets eighth grade team of Bryant Middle School found themselves trailing the Conway White Wampus Cats 20-0. Though they put together a long drive at the end of the first half and an extended march to start the third quarter, the Hornets couldn’t break through for a score until the fourth quarter. That proved to be too little, too late as Conway White held on for a 26-14 victory at Bryant Stadium Thursday night.
The loss dropped Bryant White to 3-4 on the season pending their season-finale on Monday at North Little Rock.
Big plays plagued the Hornets early. The Cats had three hard-running backs. Keyonte Banks had an 11-yard run to start the game then Manny Smith dashed for 19. A holding penalty against the Cats pushed them back from the 5 but quarterback Paul Harris passed to Traland McClure for the first touchdown.
Bryant’s first play was a good one too. Robert Hendrix slashed 13 yards. But a holding penalty knocked the Hornets off schedule. They were unable to overcome it and wound up punting.
On Conway White’s first play from the 38, Smith broke loose for a 62-yard touchdown run to make it 14-0.
The Hornets went three-and-out and punted again. From their own 34, the Cats drove for another score, sparked by NaNa Taylor’s 56-yard dash. A fumble coast them 8 yards but they retained possession and, after the Hornets were cited for encroachment, a second quarter, Trey Roberts connected with McClure for a 13-yard touchdown and it was 20-0.
It was then the Hornets’ offense found its stride. Behind the running of Roderick Bailey and quarterback Pierce Kinley, they drove from their own 23 to the Conway White 39. On a fly sweep, Conway dropped Daizure Hale for a loss, however, forcing the Hornets into a fourth-and-9 at the 45.
After a timeout with :30.8 showing, the Hornets went for it and Kinley completed a pass to Dylan Haynes, who tiptoed the sideline to bring it in for a 32-yard gain. From the 13, Kinley passed to Cameron Booth for 7 yards but a second-down keeper netted nothing. On the last play of the half, the Hornets tried a trick play as Kinley rolled right and threw a lateral back to left tackle Turner Seelinger. But Conway White reacted well. Seelinger couldn’t bring in the throw cleanly and teammate Grant Reidmuller scooped up the loose ball but he was tackled at the 14 as the half ended in frustration for the Hornets.
To start the second half, a short kickoff return left Bryant White at its own 15. Kinley kept for 15 to get it out to the 30 and he carried the load as the Hornets drove into Conway White territory. A face-mask penalty pushed the ball to the 33 but on consecutive plays, the Hornets were dropped for losses. A third-down pass fell incomplete and a punt was the result.
Bryant White got the ball back in short order, however, when Gavin Burton intercepted a pass and returned it to the Cats’ 27. Two plays later, Kinley tossed to Haynes for a 28-yard touchdown with 6:11 left to play.
The Hornets had a chance to get the ball back quickly again when they forced Conway into a fourth-and-7 at the Bryant White 35 but Banks picked up the first down with a 14-yard dash. Troy Wiseman’s 16-yard run set up a touchdown on a quarterback sneak by Conway White’s third quarterback Ashton Waller, who had shone for the Cats on defense all night.
With around two minutes left to play, the Hornets put together another touchdown drive. A 22-yard kickoff return by Hendrix put them in good field position. He spurred the drive with a 30-yard run to convert a third down. Kinley’s 19-yard bolt set up his 3-yard touchdown keeper. Hendrix ran for the two-point conversion to set the final score.