For more photos of this event by Rick Nation, go here
Quarterback Cory Nichols ran for a touchdown and threw for another while the defense of the Bryant White Hornets eighth grade team of Bryant Middle School shut out the Lake Hamilton Wolves in a 20-0 win at Bryant Stadium Thursday night.
The Hornets limited the Wolves to just 100 yards of total offense. Lake Hamilton penetrated Bryant territory just once during the bulk of the game then again on its last play of the game, a fourth-down play that fell short.
“The defense is good,” said Hornets’ first-year head coach Russell Wortham. “Coach (Richard) Wrightner and (Andrew) Jenkins have got those guys working every week. They really put in some work there. I thought the defense played well and our special teams are really coming along as well.”
Chris Gannaway rushed just twice for 77 yards including a 60-yard TD bolt as Bryant White scored on each of its three first-half possessions.
The Hornets were bouncing back from a disappointing 16-20 loss at Conway Blue to open the season on Sept. 6.
“I thought we came out really playing well,” said Wortham. “Last week, we didn’t really get off to a good start. We kind of had to build up and get momentum on our own.
“But, tonight, I think we got after them,” he emphasized. “We had a good week of practice. Today at the team meal we were a lot more focused. “We passed the ball well and we ran the ball well. Cory had a real good game at quarterback.
“Overall, just a really good job,” the coach concluded. “We got to play as many players as we could.”
Now 1-1, the Hornets play at North Little Rock next Thursday, Sept. 20.
Bryant White opened the game with a seven-play, 69-yard touchdown march in which they had to overcome a holding penalty.
The big play of the drive was a 34-yard pass completion from Nichols to Jaylon Brown that converted a third-and-3 from their own 38. The next play, Gannaway gashed the Wolves for 17 yards to the 11.
After the holding penalty pushed them back, Martevious Earl picked up 4 yards then, on a third-and-16 at the 18, Nichols kept and scored to make it 6-0.
A bad snap undermined the extra-point attempt.
Lake Hamilton started well on offense as Kendrick Martin carried for 14 yards, but he came up with a leg injury and never returned.
A play later, Wolves’ quarterback Justin Crutchmar tried to go deep down the right side only to have Bryant’s Braylen Montgomery intercept at the Hornets’ 40.
On the first play from there, Gannaway broke his touchdown run and, with Gunner Givens’ extra point, it was 13-0 with 1:55 left in the first quarter.
Lake Hamilton nearly lost the ball on the kickoff return but James Ballard recovered the loose ball for the Wolves. Behind the running of Jamarrion Byrd, the Wolves picked up a pair for first downs and drove to the Bryant 39. On a second down there, Brown dropped running back Armunte Adams for a loss. A third-down pass fell incomplete and the Wolves punted it back to Bryant with 2:23 left in the half. The ball was downed at the 3.
A 9-yard burst by Earl and a 12-yard keeper by Nichols gave the Hornets a chance. Brown hauled in a 9-yard pass from Nichols and they took a timeout with 1:45 left.
On the next snap, Nichols and Brown hooked up again for a 68-yard touchdown. Givens tacked on the PAT and the final score was on the board.
To start the second half, Lake Hamilton had possession but, on a third down play, Will Cornelius stepped in and stopped a run by Adams and the Wolves had to punt.
A pair of runs by Earl picked up a first down for the Hornets then Wortham started working in his reserves. Bryant’s first punt came in the closing seconds of the third quarter.
Lake Hamilton put together a drive against the Hornets’ reserves, but it took a pair of fourth-down conversions to reach midfield. Antonio Cage and Nasir Vinson each had tackles for losses along the way.
The drive stalled with :28.6 left.