Hornets freshman go for 10-0 against rival Panthers in 30th meeting

By Rob Patrick

The first undefeated and untied record ever for a Bryant freshman football team will be[more] on the line when the Hornets host the rival Benton Panthers freshman team tonight at Bryant Stadium.

It’ll be the 30th renewal of the rivalry which began with the consolidation of two Benton Junior Highs in 1986. Like the high school varsity series, Benton holds an advantage overall because of early dominance but Bryant has held the upper hand in recent years. In fact, the Hornets will be after the eighth straight win in the series for Bryant teams tonight.

Game time will be around 7 p.m., with kickoff following the 5:30 p.m. contest between the eighth grade teams from Benton and Bryant Blue of Bethel Middle School.

The Hornets have already clinched the championship of the Central Arkansas Junior High Conference with a 39-6 romp over the North Little Rock Junior Charging Wildcats last Thursday but they were aided by the Panthers who upended the other one-loss team, which could’ve still managed to tie for the title, Cabot South. Benton went to overtime in a scoreless game before winning 6-0.

Though the Panthers have posted a losing record so far this season at 3-6, that last win indicates they may be playing as well as they have all season going into tonight’s season finale.

The Hornets, meanwhile, have outscored their nine opponents 342-74. That’s an average of about 38-8. They have accumulated over 2,700 yards of offense including quarterback Brandan Warner’s 1,555 yards and 20 touchdown passes on 84 completions out of 131 attempts (64 percent) with just five interceptions.

Six different receivers have caught eight or more passes this season led by K.J. Hill with 21 receptions for 391 yards despite missing four games with a broken wrist.

Brushawn Hunter is the leading rusher with 492 yards on 31 carries (a staggering average of almost 16 yards per carry). Hunter has also caught 16 passes for 423 yards (a 26-yard average) while leading the team in scoring with 106 points. He’s scored seven times on the ground, eight times on pass receptions, with TD's on a kickoff return and a punt return.

Bryant’s defense has been stellar as well. It averages allowing just 126 yards of offense per game which includes yardage gained late in games when the reserves have taken over with little dropoff. The Hornets have forced 22 turnovers, about 3.5 per game.

Bryant Junior Hornets (Mustangs) vs. Benton Junior Panthers (Warriors)

SERIES: Benton leads 17-11-1 since 1986

PREVIOUS MEETINGS:

2010, Bryant 16, Benton 0

2009, Bryant 13, Benton 6

2008, Bryant 26, Benton 16

2007, Bryant 36, Benton 0

2006, Bryant 35, Benton 22

2005, Bryant 33, Benton 0

2004, Bryant 28, Benton 14

2003, Benton 27, Bryant 6

2002, Benton 14, Bryant 6

2001, Bryant 45, Benton 14

2000, Bryant 36, Benton 6

1999, Benton 16, Bryant 0

1998, Benton 22, Bryant 12

1997, Benton 44, Bryant 38

1996, Benton 34, Bryant 8

1995, Benton 46, Bryant 0

1994, Benton 20, Bryant 14

1993, Benton 46, Bryant 2

1992, Benton 38, Bryant 0

1991, Benton 30, Bryant 0

1990, Benton 8, Bryant 6

1990, Bryant 12, Benton 0

1989, Bryant 14, Benton 14

1989, Benton 16, Bryant 7

1988, Benton 20, Bryant 8

1988, Benton 7, Bryant 0

1987, Benton 12, Bryant 0

1987, Bryant 6, Benton 0

1986, Benton 7, Bryant 6


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