CONWAY — Bouncing back from their first and only loss of the season with one game to go, the Bryant Blue Hornets eighth grade team pounded out a 34-22 victory over the Conway White Wampus Cats at John McConnell Stadium on Thursday night.
Now 7-1, the Hornets close out the season on Tuesday, Nov. 3, at North Little Rock.
Blue built a 28-6 lead before the Cats managed 16 points in the fourth quarter. The Bryant reserves came back with a touchdown in the last few minutes to set the final tally.
Jaysean Robinson rushed for two touchdowns while piling up 168 yards rushing on just 12 carries. Quarterback Jordan Walker threw for two scores (both bombs to Jonathan Frost) and ran for another.
Robinson’s first scoring run was from 12 yards out on a fourth and goal. Earlier in the drive, his 25-yard burst got the Hornets to the 10 but a penalty pushed them back.
Robinson also ran in the two-point conversion to make it 8-0.
Conway White’s Matthew Harrison completed a 22-yard pass to C.J. Neely for its initial first down. But, moments later, a holding penalty pushed the Cats back. After linebacker Landon Jackson stopped a pass from Harrison to running back Greg Dillon for a loss, the Cats turned the ball over on downs.
Robinson slashed for 32 yards on first down. The Hornets reached the White 26 but a fumble was recovered by Conway White’s Kai Buchanan.
Three plays later, however, Carter Ratliff intercepted a Harrison pass at the 48 and returned it to the Conway White 43, setting up another score.
Walker bobbled a snap but recovered and scrambled for 10 yards. A play later, Robinson, leaving would-be tacklers in his wake, dashed 33 yards for a touchdown.
A try for two failed so it was 14-0.
Behind a 64-yard burst by John Paul Saxton, the Wampus Cats drove for their first TD. From the 8, Jackson stuffed a run by Dillon. He combined with J.T. Allen to shut down a second run. But, on third and goal, Dillon found a crease and the end zone.
A two-point try failed so it was 14-6 at the half.
The Hornets received the second-half kickoff. With Allen returning the kickoff 34 yards to the Conway White 41, they were in good position. But they wound up facing a fourth-and-11. That’s when Walker wound up and fired a pass to Frost for 58 yards and another score.
Robinson ran in the conversion to make it 22-6.
In turn, the Cats drove to the Bryant 43 but, on third down there, Braxton Speer and Juan Olvera dropped Harrison for a loss of 3. Harrison turned an ankle on the play and never returned to the game.
On the next snap, his replacement, Riley Sellers had his pass picked off by Walker. He returned it to the Conway White 46. From there, Robinson relentlessly bashed 20 yards then Walker kept for a 26-yard touchdown run to make it 28-6.
The teams exchanged fumbles. Allen recovered the loose ball that was jarred away from Dillon. In turn, the Hornets nearly scored but at the end of a 19-yard run to the 2, Walker lost the ball and Conway White regained possession.
With reserves checking in for the Hornets on defense, Saxton got the Cats out of the hole with a 36-yard burst. Sellers kept for 14 then threw consecutive completions for 12 yards apiece. That led to a 6-yard touchdown run by Max Thomas. He also ran in the conversion with 2:27 left to play.
The first team offense came back onto the field for the Hornets for one last play. Walker and Frost connected for a 57-yard touchdown.
Conway White lost a fumble with 1:59 left. Jack Baker recovered for Bryant Blue. After a delay penalty then a 6-yard loss on a run, Blue’s back-up quarterback Mason Mudrew tried to pass for a first down only to have Sellers intercept and return for a touchdown. Thomas added a run for a two-point conversion and the final score was on the board with 58 seconds left to play.