WARREN — Until last Tuesday, it didn’t look like the Bryant Hornets freshman football team would play again until Thursday, Sept. 10. They had their pre-season scrimmage against Bentonville in Russellville scrubbed then Pine Bluff asked out of the season opener.
On Tuesday, however, they all of a sudden had a date with Warren. Varsity head coaches Buck James and Bo Hembree worked it out.
“They had their scrimmage games cancelled and ours was and our first game was,” acknowledged Bryant coach Kenny Horn. “So, we just threw it together. We hurried up and got ready as best we could to try to play. We were rushed, and it showed.”
Horn was referring to his team’s four turnovers. On the other hand, the Hornets forced seven turnovers including four interceptions, two that were run in for touchdowns, one by Drake Fowler, the other by T.J. Lindsey.
Gideon Motes threw for two touchdowns and James Martin ran for one as the Hornets claimed a 36-6 victory with the mercy rule in effect over the final 7:45 of the game.
“Defensively, I thought we played really well,” Horn said. “We were kind of in a bind a few times and got some turnovers and made some big plays. I like where we’re at defensively.
“Offensively, we’ve got a little bit to do,” he added. “We had some big plays and had some good chunk plays but we’ve still got to clean it up. We can’t win with turnovers, not in the league we’re in.
“We got a lot of people on film,” the coach said. “Probably not as much as I would’ve liked. We played well enough to win. We had a lot of errors, a lot of mental mistakes. We’ve got a lot of cleaning up to do.
“We had a good time, glad we got to play and we always like getting a win,” he concluded.
Besides the turnovers the Bryant defense caused, they also held Warren to minus-36 net rushing which included four sacks of quarterback Antonio Jordan. That left them with a net total offense of 45 yards.
The Hornets went right to work on the first possession of the game, covering 77 yards in four plays. It started with a 41-yard strike to Mytorian Singleton, whose tackle-breaking run after the catch accounted for about half of that.
A play later, Martin slashed for 16 yards to the 20. From there, Motes found Singleton again for the touchdown.
Using the old swinging gate formation, the Hornets added a two-point conversion with Aiden Hughes running it in.
Warren was stifled by the Bryant defense. Alex Martin stopped two plays for losses, the second with help from Chelton Murdock. A pass interference call provided the Junior Jacks with their initial first down but two plays later, Jordan was sacked by linebacker Dylan Enis, jarring the ball loose. Alex Martin scooped it up and rumbled toward the end zone. As he got inside the 5, the ball was knocked free from behind and went into the end zone.
That resulted in a touchback with Warren retaining possession at its own 20. The Hornets forced a three-out but when Jordan punted, the return was muffed, and the Jacks’ Neon Thomas scooped up the loose ball and returned to the Bryant 4.
Despite a bad snap, Jordan threw to Traylon Jackson for the touchdown. A bad snap sabotaged the extra point try.
It didn’t take long for the Hornets to add to the 8-6 lead. After a strong return of the kickoff by Fowler got Bryant to near midfield, Motes threw to Cason Trickey for 4 yards then James Martin broke a 47-yard touchdown run.
A try for two failed but Bryant led 14-6.
In turn, Warren managed to move the ball to the Bryant 41 where, on a third-and-9, Trickey intercepted a pass and returned it to the 40. On the first snap there, however, Jackson intercepted a pass at the 12.
On second down there, Alex Martin sacked Jordan at the 5. On third down, a high snap sailed over the quarterback’s head and through the end zone for a safety to make it 16-6.
And Warren had to kick to the Hornets. Though the Hornets drove to the 23, they turned it over with a fumble at the 24.
On the next play, however, Jordan was picked off by Fowler who returned the ball 42 yards for a touchdown to make it 22-6.
Later, Lindsey caused a fumble with a big hit on Neeyo Harding. Nick Biskey recovered at the 32. From there, Motes passed to James Martin for the touchdown. Jaime Perez added the extra point and, with :28.2 left in the half, Bryant led 29-6.
Warren picked up a first down when Jordan connected with Jordan Green but, on the last play of the half, Singleton made an interception.
To start the third quarter, Warren took advantage of a 36-yard completed from Jordan to Jackson plus a face mask penalty to reach Bryant’s 38. Moments later, on a third-and-7 at the 35, Lindsey and Biskey sacked Jordan for a loss of 12. It forced the Jacks to punt.
The Hornets wound up punting it back with their lone punt of the game. It turned the field over as Motes uncorked a 47-yarder. From the 20, Jordan tried to pass only to be belted by A.J. Foreman. The pass popped up into the air and into the arms of Lindsey who rumbled into the end zone from 25 yards out.
Christian Chandler added the extra point and it was a 30-point lead with 7:45 left, as the mercy rule went into effect. The rest of the game was played with a running clock.
Horn and his staff started working in reserves.
The Hornets start play in the Central Arkansas Junior High Conference next Thursday at home against Cabot North.