September 8 in Bryant athletic history: 2017

Freshman passing game overwhelms Cabot North

EDITOR’S NOTE: Because the look back at each day in Bryant athletic history has been so favorably received during the time when there was no sports during the COVID-19 shutdown, will continueposting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).

For more photos from this event by Rick Nation, go here

By Rob Patrick

Aiden Adams hauls in a 49-yard pass on the first play of Thursday’s game. (Photo by Rick Nation)

CABOT — Quarterback Austin Ledbetter completed each of his first eight passes as the Bryant Hornets freshman team piled up an 18-0 lead by midway through the second quarter of their Central Arkansas Junior High Conference game against the Cabot North Panthers on Thursday night.

The defense completed the shutout and Ledbetter wound up running for two touchdowns and throwing for another in the 25-0 victory that opened the 2017 season for the Hornets, who had their scheduled opener last week, forfeited by J.A. Fair.

Ledbetter wound up going 11 of 15 for 211 yards. Hayden Schrader caught five of those for 95 yards and the score while Aiden Adams grabbed three throws for 95 yards.

By getting the early lead, the Hornets forced the Panthers to throw nine passes in the game. Cabot teams don’t throw unless it’s by surprise or out of desperation. The Hornets were surprised once but the other two completions for Cabot North were part of an unfulfilled attempt to come from behind.

Along with the shutout, the Hornets forced two turnovers. Braydon Godwin had an interception and Hart Penfield recovered a fumble. Bryant held Cabot North’s grind-it-out running game to under 100 yards. Of the 98 the Panthers mustered, the bulk came from runs of 30 and 37 yards. The latter was what was left of a 58-yard touchdown run that was abbreviated by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against the Panthers during the run.

The Freshman Hornet defenders including Alec Purdom (79), Rodricho Martin (26) and Jimyle Harris (on the ground) stacks up a Cabot North running play. (Photo by Rick Nation)

Bryant scored on each of its first three possessions. After Conner Coleman fielded a game-opening onside kick by Cabot North, Ledbetter’s first pass was a deep spiral that Adams twisted to haul in at the 9-yard line. On an option pitch, River Gregory ran it in from there and, two plays into the contest, the Hornets led 6-0.

Aided by an offsides penalty, the Panthers picked up a first down then running back Garrett Hill broke free for the 30-yard gallop. A collar tackle cost the Hornets 15 more yards. As a result, Cabot North was just 27 yards away from tying or taking the lead.

But the Hornets stuffed them there. A second-down run by Tyler Parks was stopped for a loss by Jimyle Harris and a quarterback keeper went for no gain thanks to a play by Noah Davis out of the secondary.

Hayden Schrader catches a touchdown pass in front of Cabot North’s Tyler Parks (2). (Photo by Rick Nation)

A fourth-down pass fell incomplete and the Hornets’ offense convened back on the field. After a penalty, Ledbetter connected with Schrader again for 12 yards. The quarterback then kept on the option for 14. A 10-yard strike to Schrader moved the Hornets into Cabot territory.

Gregory dashed for 9 yards then caught a pass for 11. And when he was tackled by the collar, the Hornets had a first-and-goal at the 9.

On the next snap, Ledbetter fired to Schrader for the TD.

Again, a two-point conversion attempt failed, leaving it 12-0.

And, once more, Cabot North benefited from an offsides penalty, setting up a first-and-5 situation. Yet, the Panthers were denied a first down. On second-and-2, Harris stopped Trey Birdsong for a loss. On third-and-4, quarterback Tyler Gee fumbled the snap and was dragged down by Rodricho Martin for  a loss, forcing Cabot North to punt.

Austin Ledbetter looks downfield for an open receiver. (Photo by Rick Nation)

A short kick gave Bryant a short field. On three Ledbetter passes, the Hornets drove to the 11. The first was a 33-yard connection to Schrader. The second was a 7-yard toss to Gregory. The third was a 3-yard throw to Austin Schroeder.

On third-and-1 at the 11, Ledbetter kept again and scored again to make it 18-0 with 6:20 still to play in the first half.

Parks broke the long touchdown run for the Panthers, which was negated on the next possession. Moments later, they faced a fourth-and-5 at the Bryant 31. A pass interference penalty bailed them out but the result of the penalty was errant by the officials. They called in a spot foul and didn’t mark any yardage off — an NFL ruling, not high school rules. The Panthers were awarded a first down but the penalty actually cost them 2 yards.

And when Godwin sacked Gee for an 11-yard loss and Martin led a charge that cut down the quarterback for a loss of 2, it proved to be more than the Panthers could overcome as they turned it over on downs with 1:05 left in the half.

Three plays into the second half, Godwin made his interception in a crowd with two of his teammates. A fumble on a 15-yard pass completion turned it back over, however.

Alec Purdom (79), Ty Banks (47) and Noah Davis (27) thwart a Cabot North running play. (Photo by Rick Nation)

Cabot North faced a third-and-3 at its own 42, usually a very makeable down and distance for a Cabot team, but Ty Bahnks sniffed out a sweep and dropped Hill for a 7-yard loss.

The Panthers lined up for a punt but surprised the Hornets with a fake. Gee completed a 26-yard pass to Birdsong to keep their drive alive.

A 23-yard pass to Richard Goodman put the Panthers at the Bryant 15 but, a play later, running back Leyton Spencer gave up the ball as Penfield recovered.

The Hornets put the finishing touches on the victory by dashing down the field for a final touchdown. It came after a four-yard loss. They got 5 of that back on a Cabot North penalty then Ledbetter went back to work in the air. His 31-yard strike to Schrader got them out of the hole. He then found Adams for 38 yards, setting up his 14-yard keeper for the touchdown.

Brock Funk drilled the extra point to set the final score.

Cabot North went three-and-out then tried another fake punt. But this time, Gee’s pass was well covered by Garrett Wilson and fell incomplete.

The teams exchanged punts in the final 4:20 of the game.

The Hornets will travel to Lake Hamilton on Thursday, Sept. 14.

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