CONWAY — Things started out well for the Bryant Blue Hornets eighth grade team on Thursday night. Gideon Motes found Aiden Hughes for a 55-yard touchdown pass then Jaden Ashford ran in a two-point conversion.
But the Conway Blue Wampus Cats eighth graders answered and wound up scoring 29 unanswered points for a 29-8 victory on Centennial Bank Field at John McConnel Stadium.
It was the Hornets’ first loss of the season. They’ll take their 3-1 record and try to bounce back at El Dorado on Thursday, Oct. 10.
“By far they’re the best we’ve seen,” said Hornets coach Josh Akers of Conway Blue. “They had very shifty backs that we could not grab ahold of especially in open space. We were gassed on offense and couldn’t establish a presence in the run game or passing.”
The Cats scored later in the first quarter but were unable to add the extra point, so the Hornets had an 8-6 lead going into the second quarter.
A four-play, 65-yard drive gave Conway Blue the lead with 3:52 left in the half. The Cats added a two-point conversion to make it 14-8.
The Hornets got a good return of the ensuing kickoff by Ashford, setting up shop at midfield. But, on the first play there, Motes’ deep pass was intercepted by the Cats’ Jordan Buggs.
Keyed by a 53-yard gallop by Kennan Jeffers, Conway Blue drove for another score. Criss Oneal found the end zone on a 33-yard sprint. A two-point conversion pass made it 22-8 and that was the halftime score.
A 9-yard run by Ashford and an 18-yard pass from Motes to Hughes produced a first down on the Hornets’ first drive of the third quarter. Motes kept for 14 yards, but a holding penalty knocked them back and they couldn’t quite recover. On a fourth-and-25, Motes had to tuck it and run. He picked up 10 yards, but it wasn’t enough.
The defense held the Wampus Cats without a first down and got the ball back just 32 yards from paydirt. But a pair of bad snaps undermined the possession and, on a fourth-and-5 at the 27, Motes was picked off by Jeffers at the 5.
Despite starting so deep in their own territory, the Cats scored again. Jeffers’ 88-yard run not only got them out of the hole but set up the 9-yard TD run by Oneal.