November 4 in Bryant athletic history: 2009

Hornets freshmen close out season with spoiler win over rivals from Benton

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).

The Bryant freshmen cheerleaders perform during Tuesday's halftime. (Photo by Rick Nation)By Rob Patrick

Bryant kicker Josh Lowery had been nearly perfect on extra points in 2009, converting 23 of 24 before the timing somehow got messed up on his kick after the Bryant Hornets freshman team took a 13-6 lead over the arch-rival Benton Panthers on Tuesday night.

Bryant cornerback Austin Powell (6) knocks down Benton's last-ditch pass to Taylor Schmidt. (Photo by Rick Nation)

And, with 6:31 left to play, the Panthers still had a chance at a comeback win with a touchdown and a two-point conversion. Thus, their hopes for a share of the championship of the South Division of the Central Arkansas Junior High Conference was still alive.

Their drive began at their own 32 but needed a pair of third-down conversions to continue. On third-and-10 from there, a pass from Grayson Chilton to Taylor Schmidt went for 23 yards.

There, Bryant linebacker Ian Shuttleworth knifed through to drop running back Wallace Foote for a loss on first down then Hayden Daniel, from cornerback, held the line as Daniel Ramirez tried to sweep left end.

But, again, on third down, the Panthers survived when Chiton’s pass to Foote broke for 19 yards and only a fine open-field tackle by Daniel saved the touchdown.

At the Bryant 27, the Panthers mixed in a running play, their bread-and-butter out of the wishbone. Fullback Cole Glover managed 2 yards before Daniel Richards and Jared Koon took him down.[more]

With time running short, the Panthers went to the air. On second down, Foote went deep down the right sideline and Chilton put the ball on the money only to have Bryant corner Austin Powell knock it down as it reached the receiver.

On third down, the Panthers tried the same play on the other side. Again, Foote looked open but Daniel got back and got enough of the throw to prevent the reception.

That set up a fourth down play that was do-or-die for the Panthers. Again, Chilton looked deep, this time for Schmidt in the right corner of the end zone. But Powell leaped up and knocked the ball down and the Hornets took over.

With short passes from Hayden Lessenberry to Daniel and a crucial fourth-down run by the quarterback to convert a fourth-and-2 at the Benton 37, the Hornets drained the final 2:27 on the clock to hang on for the victory.

The loss spoiled Benton’s title hopes and left the Panthers 6-4 overall, 5-2 in the league. Bryant, with its fourth win in a row, finished 8-2 overall and 5-2 in the division.

It was also the sixth consecutive season that the Hornets had beaten the Panthers in the freshman rivalry.

It says something about the Hornets program that 8-2 turned out to be something of a disappointment, however.

The Hornets freshman defense converges on a Benton running back, including Hunter Berry (31), Austin Powell (6), Tyler Hayden (68), Stoney Stevens (32), Arron Bell (8) and Tim Kelly (52). (Photo by Rick Nation)

“We ended up on a good run at the end,” acknowledged Hornets head coach Kenny Horn. “It’s still disappointing to go 8-2. I feel like those two losses were — I don’t think we should’ve lost. I felt like we should be conference champions going into the year and I feel like we still should be. This is Bryant. We preach about being the best we can be all the time and winning football games no matter what; no matter who, what, when, where or why.

“The good thing is, we’ve grown and we’ve gotten better,” he related. “We’ve matured mentally. They’re so athletic. We just weren’t always good football players. But, in the last few weeks, we’ve turned into pretty good football players. It was still a good year.”

A concern from the very start was the team’s ability to stop the running game. In fact, coming into the game, the Hornets had allowed 1,602 yards rushing in nine games, just 305 passing.But, against the Panthers’ vaunted run game featuring Foote, Glover and Ramirez, the Hornets clamped down and allowed just 68 yards on the ground.

“Tonight, they turned it around,” Horn asserted. “Boy, they were physical. We changed our scheme up a little bit and they bought into it.”

Foote finished with 55 yards on 11 carries. Meanwhile, the Hornets’ Jalen Bell finished with 96 yards on 12 tries and Lessenberry, despite a few lost-yardage plays, picked up 71 yards and two touchdowns on 12 tries.

Hayden Daniel (11) cuts inside a block by Devon Sears (26). (Photo by Rick Nation)

The game didn’t start out well for the Hornets, however. Benton marched 62 yards in 13 plays, eating up all but 1:15 of the first quarter, and it looked like it might be a long night.

The Panthers’ knack for converting third downs showed early. In fact, on their first third-down situation, they needed 10 yards and got 17 from Foote.

After Foote dashed for 21 yards, the Panthers faced a third-and-8 at the Bryant 19. Zach Cambron and Stoney Stevens stopped Glover but, on fourth down, Foote picked up the first down with Hunter Berry making a fine open-field tackle to keep the run to 5 yards.

From the 11, Ian Shuttleworth and Koon stuffed Ramirez then Tyler Hayden dropped him Foote after a pick-up of a yard.

So, on third down from the 8, Chilton ran a beautiful fake and fired his first pass to Stuckey, wide open in the end zone for the score.

A snafu on the extra point led to Arron Bell blocking the kick, leaving it 6-0.

On the ensuing kickoff, Jalen Bell made a 28-yard return that nearly went the distance.

Bryant ran its first play on offense from its own 43 but Stuckey broke loose and sacked Lessenberry for a 9-yard loss.

Jalen Bell, right, rushed for 96 yards on 12 carries Tuesday. (Photo by Rick Nation)

But Lessenberry completed his first pass on the next play, hitting Devon Sears for 17 yards.

On the first play of the second quarter, Jalen Bell sliced and diced through the Benton defense for 49 yards. Grayson Worthington and Stuckey saved the touchdown with a tackle at the 1 but, on the next snap, Lessenberry sneaked it in.

And when Lowery drilled the extra point, the Hornets led 7-6.

But they hadn’t stopped the Panthers yet. After Foote returned the kickoff to the 33, a run by the halfback picked up 4 yards. On the next play, Glover was stuffed by Koon and Shuttleworth, setting up another one of those third downs. But this time, the Panthers were prevented from converting as Cordell Boykins got penetration and smacked down Ramirez for a loss, forcing a punt.

Bryant used up the rest of the half on a drive that stalled at the Benton 41.

But the Hornets were due to get the ball to start the second half. Shuttleworth fielded a squib kick and returned to the 43 and, behind Jalen Bell’s running, they drove to the 9 where he made a bid to score only to have the ball ripped loose and recovered by Schmidt for Benton at the 1.

The Hornets defense came in and kept the Panthers from digging out of that hole. Boykins stuffed a second-down run then, on a third-and-2 from the 9, Richards crashed in on Foote, forcing a Benton punt.The field position advantage stayed with the Hornets who got the ball back 43 yards away from adding to their 7-6 lead.

A holding penalty made it tough but, moments later, facing a third-and-10, Lessenberry kept and ripped off a determined 11-yard run to extend the drive. A play later, Lessenberry completed a 9-yard pass to Arron Bell, setting up a third-and-2 from the Benton 17.

On the next play, Lessenberry laced his way through the Panthers defense and powered into the end zone for a touchdown that extended the Bryant margin to 13-6, setting up the exciting final sequence of events.

While running out the clock, Lessenberry completed a pair of short passes to Daniel but, the big play came on second-and-3 from the Bryant 32. In the shotgun, Lessenberry knocked down a bad snap. He scooped the ball up and rumbled 19 yards for a new set of downs at the Benton 45.

They reached the 37 where they faced a fourth-and-2 and, after Benton had used its last timeout, Lessenberry kept for 4 yards to keep the ball in the Hornets’ possession as time expired.


Score by quarters

Benton 6 0 0 0 — 6

BRYANT 0 7 0 6 — 13

Scoring summary

First quarter

BENTON — Stuckey 9 pass from Chilton (kick blocked), 1:15

Second quarter

BRYANT — Lessenberry 1 run (Lowery kick), 7:44

Fourth quarter

BRYANT — Lessenberry 17 run (kick failed), 6:42

Team stats


First downs 6 11

Rushes-yds 21-68 26-180

Passing 3-7-0 6-8-0

Passing yds 51 33

Punts-avg. 2-31.0 1-38.0

Fumbles-lost 0-0 3-1

Penalties-yds 3-15 1-10


Rushing: BRYANT, J.Bell 12-96, Lessenberry 12-71, Daniel 2-16; BENTON, Foote 11-55, Ramirez 7-7, Glover 3-6.

Passing (C-A-I-Y): BRYANT, Lessenberry 6-8-0-33; BENTON, Chilton 3-7-0-51.

Receiving: BRYANT, A.Bell 3-3, Daniel 2-13, Sears 1-17; BENTON, Schmidt 1-23, Foote 1-19, Stuckey 1-9.

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