By Rob Patrick
Quarterbacks Jake Meadors and Derrick Rose traded late touchdown runs then the defenses stood up over the final 4:27 as the Bryant Blue Hornets of Bethel Middle School and the Bryant White Hornets of Bryant Middle School battled to a 14-14 tie in the seventh-grade version of the Hornet Bowl Thursday night.
The game was tied 6-6 at the half. In the second half, Meadors and running back Dalen McDonald helped Bryant Blue to drive to the Bryant White 13. The White Hornets made a bid at a stand there. Rose and Austin Bailey combined to stop a second-down play for no gain then Meadors’ third-down pass fell incomplete.
On fourth down, Meadors kept and found his way into the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown with 7:43 left to play.
Bethel added a two-point conversion on Meadors’ throw to Ethan Hilkert, making it 14-6.
Bryant White, however, answered in short order. A 20-yard run by Korbin Bailey reached the 50 and from there, Rose set sail on a touchdown run. And when he narrowly got to the end zone for the two-point conversion, it was tied 14-14.
Bethel made two bids to regain the advantage. The first, however, was ended abruptly by Damien Constanino’s interception, which he returned to the Blue 40.
But the Blue Hornets’ defense stuffed two running plays and twice Rose threw incomplete as they turned it over on downs with :23.1 showing.
Bethel gave itself a chance again when Meadors hooked up with Hilkert on a 38-yard completion to the White 19 with :12.7 left.
Meadors had to keep on first down there and was stopped for a 1-yard gain by Braydan Lester. After a timeout with :05.3 showing, the Blue Hornets took a shot in the air only to have it fall incomplete as the game concluded.
McDonald accounted for Bethel’s initial score, a 1-yard plunge early in the game. Rose’s 36-yard touchdown run tied it. His pass attempt to try to add the conversion was intercepted by River Holland.
The Blue Hornets threatened to score just before the half. Meadors had runs of 15 and 14 yards then completed passes of 10 and 7 to Ethan Loomis. A 5-yard throw to Ryan Riedmueller reached the 19. But when Meadors’ toss to Jaegar Burks was stopped at the 10, time ran out.
The White Hornets opened the second half with a drive from their own 30 to the Blue 46. The key play was a 22-yard strike from Rose to Tristan Hays. But the drive stalled when Will Hope and Tanner Wilson made quick stops on running plays and a fourth-down pass, though caught by Constanino came up short of a first down.
Bethel took over and drove to its second-half score.