Hornets hope to continue to build momentum on trip to Texarkana (season stats included)

By Rob Patrick

In the process of gathering momentum towards the challenges at the end of the season, including[more] the Class 7A State playoffs, the Bryant Hornets make a trip to Texarkana tonight to renew their rivalry with the Razorbacks, who have struggled to a 1-6 start to the season.

The Hornets, after a loss at Pine Bluff when the Zebras scored 24 points in the fourth quarter on Sept. 28, have won two in a row against second-division teams in the 7A/6A-South Conference. Texarkana is in that second tier as well but played Pine Bluff tough in their conference opener, losing 23-17, before suffering through three straight games in which they gave up over 40 points including a 45-17 drubbing at Benton last week.

The Hornets eased past Sheridan 58-0 a week ago. It was their first shutout since last season’s 42-0 win over Texarkana.

“Defensively, we played fairly well,” said Bryant defensive coordinator Steve Griffith of the win over Sheridan. “We’re still working hard on trying to improve our run fits, exactly where we’re supposed to be, getting our head up where we can see a little bit better when we do attack.

“Texarkana has some very good skill guys,” he noted. “The quarterback didn’t play last week but he should be back. He’s got good speed, throws the ball well when he gets some time. So we’ve got to work hard on getting some pressure, forcing him to get the ball out before he’s comfortable.

“Their running backs are both pretty good hands with good speed,” he continued. “We need to keep them bottled up then they’ve got a couple of receivers that are both very explosive guys. We saw both of them catch balls against El Dorado and Pine Bluff and turn them into big gains. Our challenge will be to keep those guys bottled up too.”

The Hornets will more than likely have to do that without two of their top tacklers. Safety Jake Johnson will miss his second game due to injury and middle linebacker Tyree Reese will probably be held out with a bad ankle, an injury he suffered last week against Sheridan.

Offensively, the Hornets had their best night of the season running the ball last week with seven different backs carrying the ball led by sophomore K.J. Hill who, with 125 yards, became the team’s leading rusher for the season (191 yards on 14 carries). Senior Jalen Bell remains out after suffering a concussion at Pine Bluff so there figures to be more mixing and matching with different personnel tonight.

“I thought we did a good job of executing all the game-plan stuff we had to do, being without J.Bell for another week,” commented Hornets offensive coordinator Lance Parker. “I think the kids did a good job paying attention and we didn’t have any substitution errors or anything. They made it work. The result was one of our best running performances of the year."

Texarkana, meanwhile, gave up over 200 yards to Benton’s Wallace Foote last week and over 500 yards of total offense.

“We’re going to try to run it on them,” Parker said. “We had some success and we understand what we’re trying to do running the ball. Our kids got, hopefully, some confidence in it last week but we’re going to try.

“But, you know, Benton’s pretty good at running it,” he noted. “That’s their m.o. We seem to be known as a throwing team but we’re going to try to run it and keep the momentum because we’re going to have to run it to beat people down the road anyway. We’re going to continue to try to get better at what we’re doing and, hopefully, our kids will have a lot of confidence later on in the playoffs.”

Last season, senior quarterback Hayden Lessenberry had one of his best nights throwing against Texarkana, completing 22 of 29 passes for 269 yards and four touchdowns.

In describing Texarkana’s defensive approach, Parker related, “They’re similar to Sheridan and to Fair in that they’re going to give us a ton of looks and, rather than have our quarterback drop back and decipher all that going on behind there, we’re going to have some nice easy throws for him. They’re going to send a lot of blitz looks but I think if we can hurt them a couple of times on screens, they’ll be a little afraid to commit that many guys to a blitz if they don’t get there.

“The key is not doing what they want us to do and throw picks and things like that, just making sure we’ve got a simple passing game planned for the quarterback to execute easy,” he concluded.

With a win and if El Dorado can knock off Pine Bluff in their showdown tonight, the Hornets' chances at a share of the South Conference championship would be rekindled. After hosting a tough Lake Hamilton team next week, Bryant finishes the regular season at El Dorado on Friday, Nov. 2.


BRYANT HORNETS

2012 unofficial stats through 7 games


Score by quarters

Opponent 21 21 0 63 — 105

BRYANT 61 64 59 35 — 219

Team stats

Oppt Bryant

First downs 89 100

Rushes-yds 228-1127 162-726

Passing 55-128-6 107-184-2

Passing yds 598 1353

Fumbles-lost 12-7 6-4

Penalties-yds 41-296 43-374

INDIVIDUAL STATS

Rushing: Hill 14-191, J.Bell 46-181, Irby 35-124, Hunter 10-52, Young 3-42, Lessenberry 33-38, Lawhon 6-30, Reese 7-26, Akers 5-21, Warner 1-17, Powell 2-4.

Passing (C-A-I-Y): Lessenberry 100-172-4-1276 (12 TDs), Warner 7-11-0-76 (1 TD).

Receiving: Hill 26-424, Hunter 20-314, Howard 17-212, Powell 13-117, J.Bell 11-86, Irby 5-53, Rutherford 4-37, Akers 3-40, Richards 2-13, Giles 1-22, Shuttlworth 1-16, Vail 1-14, Sears 1-8, Lawhon 1-0.

Scoring: Hill 48 (1 td-r, 7 td-p), Lowery 37 (3 for 3 fg {43, 36, 26}, 28 of 29 PATs), Reese 30 (5 td-r), J.Bell 18 (2 td-r, 1 td-p), Hunter 12 (2 td-p), Lessenberry 12 (2 td-r), Howard 6 (1 td-p), Irby 6 (1 td-r), Johnson 6 (1 td-int.ret), Stevens 6 (recovery), Nossaman 6 (1 td-fum.ret), Richards 6 (1 td-p), Tipton 6 (1 int. ret), Shuttleworth 6 (1 td-p), Lawhon 6 (1 td-r), Young 6 (1 td-r), Kelly 2 (1 safety)


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