The Bryant Blue Hornets seventh grade team of Bethel Middle School opened the 2020 season on Monday night with a 14-0 win over North Little Rock on Everett Field at Hornets Stadium.
The Hornets scored in each half. On their first series, after the defense, led by Carter Faulkner, stopped a fourth-down run at the North Little Rock 39, Kennan Latin scored on a third-and-4 reverse run from 33 yards out. Jake Taylor threw to Mekhi Ray for a two-point conversion.
In the second half, Bryant Blue put together a 12-play march for a score. Once again, a fourth-down stop by the defense, led by Jake Taylor, Faulkner and Cohen Chalmers set up the drive at the North Little Rock 43.
The touchdown came on a scramble by quarterback Taylor from 6 yards out. Taylor threw to Latin in a try for two, but the pass was incomplete.
North Little Rock’s best chance to score was after its defense made a fourth-down stand near the end of the first half. A 14-yard pass plus a 15-yard face-mask penalty got them out from their own 14. A last-second throw toward the end zone, however, was batted down by Trey Battle for Blue.
“Overall, I was very proud of my guys,” said Hornets coach Colton Bond. “On Thursday, we were notified three of our starters would be out, to go on top of our quarterback being injured and, as a team we challenged each other to be that next man up. We had a day to switch up our game plan and our young men executed it.
“I challenged our offensive line made up of Mason Noel, Brandin Grice, Aiden Aldridge, Chase Trimble, and Kennedy Perry to control the game,” he added. “They answered as we were able to slow the game down, wear on their defense, and simply run the football. Cohen Chalmers had a great game with 14 carries, 70 yards. He is a throwback running back, nothing flashy but he runs with purpose. Very proud of him.”
“Taylor, Latin, Kimble, provided a compliment to Chalmers in mixing it up to keep the defense guessing some,” Bond said. “Overall, we had 27 carries for 136 yards. Taylor did a great job leading our young men at quarterback.”
Taylor led the Hornets defensively with 11 tackles including a sack and a forced fumble. Faulkner and Kimble had four tackles each.
“Defensively, Coach (Joe) Cook was able to put our guys in a phenomenal spot holding the Charging Wildcat offense to 30 total yards and a shutout,” Bond said. “I thought our guys rallied to the ball, highlighted by a big night by Jake Taylor. Carter Faulkner got put into a new role on the defensive line and played outstanding. I thought our defensive backs had a good game as well and kept (North Little Rock’s) speed in check at times.”
The Hornets return to action at Hot Springs on Monday, Sept. 28, with a B game at 5:30 followed by an A game.
“I feel like the group in general, keeps getting better with time,” Bond related. “However, we have got to get some things cleaned up. We tackled too high at times resulting in face-mask penalties. We had three in all for 45 yards which is way too much. We have got to be more sound in that department and we will be as time goes on in our drills.
“We took care of the football, however some execution needs to be better,” he concluded. “Our effort is there, and this bye week couldn’t come at a better time for us to get some of these guys out with injuries back. Great team win, nothing flashy, just pure blue-collar work from our young men.”