Defense, ground game spur Bryant Blue to season-opening victory

Bryant Blue head coach Dale Jones instructs his offense during a timeout in Thursday night's game against Hot Springs Lakeside. (Photo by Rick Nation)By Rob Patrick

Photos by Rick Nation

On his first carry of the game, Phillip Isom-Green picked up more yards than the Hot Springs Lakeside Rams, as a[more] team, could must the entire game against the defense of the Bryant Blue Hornets eighth grade team of Bethel Middle School.

Bryant Blue quarterback Desmond Duckworth turns upfield in front of teammate Kale Kimbroth (51). (Photo by Rick Nation)Isom-Green muscled in behind a strong performance by the Blue offensive line to score all of his team’s points in a 22-0 win over the Rams. He rushed for 111 yards on just 10 carries with three touchdowns and a pair of two-point conversions.

The win was the team’s first of the season and the first under new head coach Dale Jones.

And it wasn’t as though Lakeside didn’t know what the Hornets were going to do. The game was drenched by the remnants of Hurricane Isaac and passing just wasn’t much of an option. Bryant Blue quarterback Desmond Duckworth was 0 for 4 through the air while the Rams’ trio of quarterbacks managed a pair of completions in six attempts for a grand total of 7 yards.

So the Bryant Blue defense pretty much knew what Lakeside needed to do as well only they clamped down on the Rams, limiting them to 26 yards rushing in 15 attempts. The Hornets (and the conditions) produced four Lakeside fumbles, two of which Bryant Blue recovered.

The teams played in a steady rain but the heavy stuff waited for the freshman game.

They exchanged punts to start the game then Lakeside decided to take a chance on a fourth-down play at its own 43 only to come up short.

Bryant took over on downs and managed to retain possession on an opening fumble with Kale Kimbrough covering the loose ball. On the next play, Duckworth slashed for 16 yards to the Lakeside 37. Enter Isom-Green for his first carry of the game, slipping outside and down the left sideline for the game’s first score with 5:14 left in the first half.

He ran in the two-point conversion to make it 8-0.Bryant Blue's London Taylor (74) and Sam Harrison break through to block the punt of Hot Springs Lakeside's Lane Shatley. (Photo by Rick Nation)

The Hornets, as they had to start the game, used an onside kick after the score. Lakeside had retained possession on the opener but this time, the ball ricocheted around and Chris Adams recovered for the Hornets.

Behind Isom-Green, who broke a 23-yard run, Bryant Blue drove to the 23 then lost a couple of yards on first down and, on second down, got flagged for a hold that took the starch out of the march. The Hornets wound up turning the ball over on downs at the 35.

In the second half, with conditions worsening, the two teams exchanged fumble. London Taylor had the recovery on Lakeside’s and Bryant took over near midfield. Keyed by a 20-yard run by Duckworth on a fourth-and-11 play, the Hornets drove for a second score. Isom-Green covered the remaining 22 yards in three attempts, the final one covering 7 yards to paydirt.

A penalty on the conversion attempt undermined the effort and the score remained 14-0 with 6:31 left in the game.

Lakeside, which had yet to manage its initial first down, was forced to punt from its own 18. The kick was blocked by Sam Harrison and there was Taylor to cover it at the Rams’ 6. Isom-Green scored on the very next play then added a run for the conversion to set the final score with 4:45 left.

On the subsequent possession, Lakeside finally put together a couple of first down on runs of 23 and 11 yards by its third quarterback, Grayson Overton. At the Bryant 32, however, the Rams started going backwards. Their last gasp on a fourth-and-18 from the Bryant 40 picked up a yard and the Hornets took over on downs with 1:12 left.

Bryant Blue is set to return to action on Thursday, Sept. 6, at Little Rock Dunbar.

BRYANT BLUE 22, HOT SPRINGS LAKESIDE 0

Score by quarters

HS Lakeside 0 0 0 0 — 0

BRYANT BLUE  0 8 0 14 — 22

SCORING SUMMARY

Second quarter

BRYANT BLUE — Isom-Green 37 yard run (Isom-Green run), 5:14

Fourth quarter

BRYANT BLUE — Isom-Green 7 run (run failed), 6:31

BRYANT BLUE — Isom-Green 6 run (Isom-Green run), 4:45

Team stats

Lakeside Bryant Blue

First downs  2 7

Rushes-yds 15-26 26-170 

Passing 2-6-0 0-4-0

Passing yds 7 0

Punts-avg. 2-20.0 1-28.0

Fumbles-lost 4-2 3-1

Penalties-yds 4-20 3-25

INDIVIDUAL STATS

Rushing: BRYANT BLUE, Isom-Green 10-111, Medlock 4-31, Duckworth 10-19, Allen 1-9, Endl 1-0; HOT SPRINGS LAKESIDE, Overton 5-27, Turner 1-4, Shatley 8-3, Dean 1-(-8).

Passing (C-A-I-Y): BRYANT BLUE, Duckworth 0-4-0-0; HOT SPRINGS LAKESIDE, Alexander 1-3-0-7, Overton 1-1-0-0, Shatley 0-2-0-0.

Receiving: HOT SPRINGS LAKESIDE, Shatley 1-7, Dean 1-0. 


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