Photos by Kevin Nagle and Rick Nation
With the 10 points for winning the South Conference championship by tiebreaker over co-champion[more] Benton, the Bryant Hornets secured a first-round bye for the Class 7A State Tournament as the second seed from the West with a 4-0 win over the El Dorado Wildcats Friday night.
It’s the first conference championship for the Bryant boys program, which began in 1997. The team has already shattered the record for most wins in a season. Not bad for a program that suffered a 2-12 season as recently as 2008.
The Hornets finished 13-1 in league play and take a 19-2-1 record into play at State in North Little Rock. They’ll open play on Friday, May 10, at 4 p.m., against a team to be determined.
It was Senior Night for Bryant. Honored were Jeremy Anderson, Cameron Furton, Josh Lowery, Austin Powell, Dylan Rives, Chase Stuart, Justin Travis and Francisco Zamora.
The win was the 14th shutout of the season for the Hornets, the fourth in a row and fifth in the last six matches.
Junior Bryce Denker had two more goals and an assist in the match. Travis and Blake Reed each added a goal.
“I thought we played hard,” said Hornets coach Jason Hay. “We got after it. I was proud of the way we played and reacted.”
Denker’s first goal came less than five minutes into the action but it held up as the lone score of the first half.
“We had a bunch of shots, we just didn’t finish,” Hay mentioned.
The second half was barely two minutes old when Reed found the back of the net. Two minutes later, Denker drilled his second off a feed from Lowery.
Travis finished up the scoring with 9:51 left in the game with Denker assisting.