CONWAY — Back from a knee injury, Drew Alpe rushed for two touchdowns for the[more] Bryant White Hornets eighth grade team of Bryant Middle School on Thursday, helping his team forge a 22-15 win over the Conway Bob Courtway Wampus Kittens at John McConnell Stadium.
Unfortunately, Alpe tweaked the knee along the way and couldn’t finish the game. The Hornets, however, added a second half touchdown run by Demaja Price to take a 22-0 lead then held off Courtway’s late rally with Quinton Royal intercepting a long pass on the final play of the game and nearly returning it for a score.
Bryant White, now 2-1, returns to action on Monday against Jacksonville.
On Thursday, the Hornets blocked a punt and recovered at the Conway 12. On the last play of the first quarter, Alpe scored the game’s first touchdown from the 1. He also ran in the two-point conversion.
The second score was set up by a fumble recovery by the Hornets at the Conway 48. The 10 play drive to the end zone featured the running of Price and a 6-yard pass from quarterback Jaret Jacobs to Xavier Mitchell. Facing a fourth-and-5 at the 10, Jacobs altered the count at the line of scrimmage and got the Kittens to jump offside. A play later, Alpe scored from the 4 with :33 left in the half. He added a run for two to make it 16-0.
On Conway’s subsequent possession, Simeon Watson intercepted a pass and returned it to the Bryant 42. With :22 left, Jacobs found Mitchell or 28 yards to the Conway 30. On the final play of the half, Jacobs and Royal nearly pulled off a long pass inside the 10 but Royal was knocked out of bounds and couldn’t hang on as time ran out.
In the second half, Conway’s first play lost 7 yards as Price knifed through to drop Keion Freeman. On the next play, quarterback Nathan Walton lost the ball as Bryant’s Cameron Murray descended on him. Murray recovered at the 7.
Alpe slashed to the 2 but, on the next play was dropped for a 2-yard loss and had to come out favoring his right knee. Price, however, smashed in from the 4 to make it 22-0 with 4:33 left in the third quarter.
Conway finally got on the board with a 47-yard drive in five plays, capped by Demarion Johnson’s 16-yard run on which he was hemmed in twice and reversed fields left then right then back to the left again before finding a crease to the end zone.
A holding penalty sabotaged Bryant’s subsequent possession after Devon Alpe recovered an onside kick attempt.
But, again, the defense stepped up by forcing yet another turnover. This time, Zach Jackson recovered a fumble at the Bryant 37.
The Hornets went to their jumbo package with Murray and fellow defensive linemen Chris Lawson leading the way for Price. They picked up a first down but a fumble cost them possession at midfield.
A 20-yard run by Freeman and an 18-yard bolt by Johnson highlighted the drive that ended with Freeman scoring from the 1. Johnson took a lateral pass and scored on the two-point conversion to make it 22-15 with 2:19 to play.
Behind Price’s running, Bryant drove to the Conway 39 eating up all but 34 seconds on the game clock. They turned the ball over on downs before Royal’s pick secured the victory.