Bryant Blue turns in top performance of the season against Benton

BENTON — The Bryant Blue Hornets eighth grade football team of Bethel Middle School had the ground game humming and, with the support of a solid defensive effort, a 22-6 win over the Benton Panthers eighth grade team was the result on Thursday night at C.W. Lewis Stadium.

The win improved the Hornets to 3-0 on the season but head coach Donavan Sims saw significant progress.[more]

“I felt like it was the first time that we executed for four quarters which was refreshing after our struggles early in the year,” he said. “My coaches did a great job of preparing our kids and correcting mistakes that we have had in the last couple of weeks.”

Brushawn Hunter piled up 132 yards rushing with two touchdowns on just four carries to lead the offense. Hunter Fugitt added 79 yards and a TD on four tries and Brenden Young picked up 48 yards on seven attempts.

Bryant claimed the lead early when Hunter broke a 60-yard touchdown sprint. Young’s run tacked on a successful two-point conversion to make it 8-0.

Benton countered with a scoring drive but was unable to match the two-point conversion and the Hornets retained an 8-6 edge.

Midway through the second quarter, Fugitt broke loose up the middle for a 50-yard touchdown run to extend the advantage to 14-6 but a missed two-point conversion kept Benton a TD and conversion away from tying.

It was 14-6 at the half and Bryant Blue had possession to start the second half. In four plays, the Hornets raced 70 yards for what turned out to be a clinching touchdown. Hunter accounted for 65 of those 70 yards on the touchdown run.

The Hornets added a two-point conversion on a pass from Brandon Warner to Jason Hastings to set the score at 22-6.

The defense helped preserve Bryant’s advantage, highlighted by interceptions by Kyle Lovelace and Trey Breeding.

“Benton was vastly improved from years past,” Sims noted. “They had two extremely physical running backs that were very impressive. Our kids flew to the ball defensively and were able to keep them contained most of the night.

“Coach (Bobby) Winn does a great job leading our defense, getting kids in the right place to make plays,” he added. “Our interior defensive linemen played well tonight, which contributed to the defense handling those big backs. That group was led by Drew Allen and Jimbo Seale who both had big games.

"Offensively, I thought we controlled the line of scrimmage tonight, which is what we preach to the boys every day,” noted the coach. “You win the battle up front and the rest will take care of itself. I was really proud of those guys. Benton is such a big rivalry for our guys and I thought tonight they did a excellent job of stepping up to the challenge.”

Sims also lauded his special teams’ play.

“The special teams have done an excellent job this year,” he stated. “Coach (Derek) McGrew does a great job of getting the kids in the right spots and we have been able to make some plays that have helped us win.”

Bryant Blue returns to action on Thursday, Sept. 23, at home against Conway Blue.

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