Photos by Kevin Nagle
The skies were clear at Bryant Stadium on Tuesday night but the White Hornets seventh grade team of Bryant Middle School were faced with too much thunder and lightning.
Running backs Michael Deadmon provided the thunder and Trenton Bennett the lightning for the Little Rock Horace Mann Bearcats, combining for 200 yards rushing to lead their team to a 22-6 victory.
Deadmon, huge by junior high standards, was big enough to play on the Bearcats defensive line, giving the Hornets trouble there. At running back, he picked up 76 yards on just seven carries. At times, it took most of the Hornets’ defense to bring him down as he dragged tacklers along.
Bennett rushed for 124 yards on seven tries with two touchdowns including a second-half clincher that went 65 yards when the Hornets appeared to have the Bearcats pinned with a third-and-18.
The ground game also limited Bryant White’s opportunities. The Hornets had just two possessions in the first half and three in the second half, including a late drive in which time ran out.
Colin Craft broke a 56-yard touchdown run on the final play of the first half to get the Hornets on the board. He finished with 88 yards on just four carries. He also caught a pass for 6 yards. Bryant White was limited to 113 yards of total offense.
Deadmon rumbled 35 yards on the third play of the game then Bennett set sail on a 38 yard touchdown run. Julius Graves passed to D’Allan Sealy for the two-point conversion.
Bryant countered with a 27-yard bolt by Craft. Two plays later, however, a third-and-10 at the Bearcats’ 43 became a third-and-20 at the Hornets 47 due to a holding penalty. A third-down play lost 4 yards.
Mann got the ball back at its 27 and, behind runs of 11 and 18 yards by Deadmon, the Bearcats drove into Bryant territory.
The Hornets came close to stopping the drive. On a fourth-and-2 at the Bryant 14, they broke through and dropped Deadmon for a 9-yard loss. But a face-mask penalty gave the Bearcats another chance and, on fourth-and-1 at the 8, Graves scored on a keeper.
Deadmon ran in the conversion and it was 16-6.
A third-down run of 12 yards by Craft sparked Bryant White’s answering possession. Two plays later, on another third down with time running out, Craft went the distance.
A pass for a two-point conversion fell incomplete.
The Hornets got the ball to start the second half but a third-down play was turned back as Deadmon sacked quarterback Gavin Burton for a loss of 7.
The Bryant defense stepped up after Horace Mann drove for the 40 to the Bryant 42. Chris Elder helped set up a fourth-and-5 with a tackle of Marques Blackman for a loss. The Bearcats went for it and Graves was stopped short.
The Hornets took over but the aggressive Mann defense pushed them back. A three-and-out resulted and the Bearcats got the ball back at its 43. The first play there was a fumble by Graves and no gain as he got back on the ball. The second down play resulted in Bennett being dragged down for a loss of eight. So, it was on a third-and-18 that he got loose for the clinching TD run.
A try for two failed when the Bearcats’ center illegally caught Graves’ pass.
With time running out, Burton hit 3 of 4 passes. The first went to Roderick Bailey for 15 yards. A play later, Craft caught one for 6 then, on what turned out to be the last play of the game, Bailey caught an 18-yard strike, getting to the Mann 31 as time expired.
The Bryant White team is set to return to action on Monday, Sept. 12, at Lake Hamilton.