NORTH LITTLE ROCK — The Bryant White Hornets eighth grade team of Bryant Middle School battled back from a 20-0 deficit to get within a touchdown but the North Little Rock Charging Wildcats eighth grade team scored late to secure a 26-14 victory on Monday night.
The game closed out the 2017 season for Bryant White.
“I am proud of the fight our boys showed in the second half of the game,” said Hornets coach Josh Fonville. “They gave us good effort and determination this year. We played our two toughest teams of the season at the end. And I hate we ended the season on two losses but they didn’t quit and I am proud of them for that.”
Bryant White got the ball first but went three and out. Following a punt, North Little Rock drove for the first score.
Behind the running of Roderick Bailey and quarterback Pierce Kinley, the Hornets responded with a drive from their own 17. Kinley broke a 64-yard touchdown run only to have a penalty negate some of the yardage.
“I wanted to keep the ball out of (North Little Rock’s) hands because they have so many weapons on offense,” Fonville noted. “Kinley broke loose but, unfortunately, we had an unnecessary roughness call against us that occurred on the 20-yard line. He was already in the end zone but our boys kept blocking behind the play. It wasn’t a vicious block but it was called.”
Still, the Hornets drove to the North Little Rock 1 but, on a fourth-down play, the Cats made a stand and held them out of the end zone.
Two plays later, North Little Rock hit a 94-yard touchdown pass. They added a two-point conversion to make it 14-0 at the half.
The Cats made it 20-0 early in the third quarter with a three-play drive to open the second half, capped by a long touchdown run.
The Hornets went three and out and punted it away.
“I thought then it was going to get bad,” Fonville admitted. “However, after we punted, our defense began to play tough.”
On the first play of the possession, the Hornets knocked the Cats for a loss. On the second play, they forced a fumble that Bryant White’s Cameron Booth scooped up and took to the house from about 40 yards away. Robert Hendrix ran in the two-point conversion to make it 20-8.
North Little Rock covered the Hornets’ onside kick.
“Once again, our defense stayed strong,” Fonville noted.
The Hornets forced another fumble late in the third quarter.
“We pounded the ball in the middle, running behind our H-back Zaccheus Jones lead-blocking for us,” Fonville related. “Bailey and Kinley once again continued to drive their legs to get yards.”
The Hornets capped off the six-minute drive with points as Kinley scored from the 3. Though the conversion failed, they were within 20-14.
Another onside kick was covered by the Charging Wildcats and they proceeded to score on the second play of their possession to close it out.
Bryant White finished the season with a 3-5 record.