CABOT — The Bryant White Hornets eighth grade team scored on the first possession of each half and made it stand up for a 14-7 win over the Cabot South Panthers eighth graders on Thursday night.
The win improved the Hornets to 4-2 going into their season finale against Benton on Tuesday, Nov. 3.
“We played a really good Cabot South team,” said Hornets coach Russell Wortham. “I am proud of how our kids played and it was a team effort.
“We had a lot of players step up,” he noted. “Jayden Tyler stepped up and played some really important minutes on offense. Wesley Vandeventer never came off the field and made plays on both sides of the ball. Our O-line blocked well and the D-line stepped up and played their hearts out. We are going to enjoy this win and begin to prepare for our final game against Benton.”
Cabot South scored on the first possession of the game then had a chance to take the lead again at the end of the first half. The Panthers drove to the Bryant 7 where, on a second-and-3, rugged running back Keegan Vest carried to the 1 then fumbled into the end zone. Bryant’s Myron Thrash scooped it up and returned out to the 32 with 43 seconds left.
With a 53-yard pass from Daniel Anderson to Nick Baker, the Hornets also made a bid to add to their 8-7 advantage but ran out of time when a first-and-goal run was stuffed for a loss as the scoreboard went to zeroes.
Cabot South had two possessions in the second half that both reached deep into Bryant White territory, but the Hornets turned back both drives.
Anderson scored on a 34-yard run in the first quarter. In the second period, he had an 84-yard gallop to the end zone negated by a holding penalty.
Cabot South’s onside kick to start the second half, actually spun backwards to their 35 where Bryant White’s Artenis Lewis covered it.
With Tristan Knox in the quarterback position in the Hornets’ three-man backfield, he slashed 23 yards to the 12. On the next play, he scored to make it 14-7.
A try for two failed.
Cabot South was forced into a three-and-out when Darrell Moore and Anderson combined to sack quarterback Jacob Bullock. On the punt, however, Vest reached the Hornets’ return man, Anderson, just as the ball did. With a big hit, the ball came loose, and Vest recovered at the 18.
After an illegal shift moved the Panthers back 5, Vest was clobbered by a group of Hornets and had to come out. He did not return.
On second down, Moore stopped a run for 1 yard and, on a third-and-14, Jaden Jackson hauled down quarterback Brett Jay for a loss of 4.
That made it fourth-and-18 at the Bryant 26. The Panthers tried a double reverse only to have Thrash sniff it out and stop Amarius Criner for no gain.
The Hornets ate some clock, but their ensuing drive stalled at the 47. They turned it over on downs.
Taking over with 5:24 left, the Panthers picked up a first down. They eventually faced a fourth-and-5 at the Hornets’ 38. Jay completed a pass to Quinn Cates, but he was stopped just short of the line to gain and, with 2:46 to go, the Hornets took the ball back.
With :51 left, Bryant White faced a fourth-and-8 at the Cabot South 47. Thrash was back to kick but he tucked the ball and sprinted around left end, getting just enough for a first down that sealed the victory.
To start the game, the Panthers benefited from a 44-yard kickoff return by Vest. From the Bryant 35, it took them six plays to get to the end zone. Vest scored from the 1. Ethan David kicked the extra point.
The Hornets got good field position too thanks to a nice kickoff return by Knox. Starting at the Cabot South 48, Bryant White picked up a first down thanks to a couple of offsides penalties against the Panthers. That set the stage for Anderson’s 34-yard touchdown jaunt.
Thrash ran in the conversion to make it 8-7.