RUSSELLVILLE — Quarterback Michael Jones scored four touchdowns and rushed for 131 yards on 20 carries while the Bryant Hornets freshman defense limited the Russellville Whirlwinds to just 19 yards rushing in a 35-6 romp at Cyclone Stadium on Thursday night.
The Hornets improved to 7-0 this season, 5-0 in the Central Arkansas Junior High Conference, going into a trip to take on a tough Cabot South team next Thursday.
Jones capped off Bryant’s first three possessions against Russellville with touchdown runs. The Hornets scored on their last two possessions as well with Jones picking up his fourth TD and Antonio Fuller putting the finishing touches on the victory.
Bryant’s Luke Welch was good on all five extra points.
The Whirlwinds tried to pop up the opening kickoff and had a chance to cover a loose ball. But Bryant’s Luke Curtis recovered at the Hornets’ 39.
Jones ripped a 16-yard run then Diante Woodson set sail on a 32-yard sprint. Two plays later, Jones scored from the 2.
A fumble cost Russellville possession on the second snap on offense. Bryant’s Johnny Smith scooped up the ball and returned it to the 13. A play later, Jones laced his way into the end zone and it was 14-0 with 5:32 still to play in the first quarter.
Linebacker Parker Littleton made a stop for a loss on Russellville’s second possession. He then pressured quarterback Ryan Talley into under-throwing a third-down pass and the Whirlwinds punted the ball back to the Hornets, who wound up with great field position again, at their own 48.
Fuller’s 14-yard run got the drive going. Moments later, Jones scampered for 9 and a major penalty against Russellville had the Hornets 13 yards away from another touchdown. Fuller cut that in half and Jones eventually scored from the 2.
With Welch’s kick it was 21-0 with :26.6 still left in the opening period.
The Whirlwinds scored their lone touchdown on the ensuing series. Running back Josiah Woodard ran for their initial first down on the last play of the quarter but, two plays later, they faced a third-and-13. Talley completed his first pass over the middle to Woodard who turned it into a 62-yard touchdown play.
A pass for a two-point conversion fell incomplete. Talley had an open receiver but he slipped down and couldn’t get to the ball.
Buoyed by their score, the Whirlwinds stepped it up defensively and forced the Hornets into a pair of three-and-outs. In between, the Hornets forced one as well with Smith, Brooks Ellis, James McClendon and Littleton contributing defensive plays.
After Cameron Vail’s second punt, Talley tried to go to the air again but, this time, Jones intercepted with 1:33 left in the half.
The Hornets tried to put together a last-minute touchdown drive. They reached the Russellville 26 with the help of their only complete pass, a 9-yarder from Jones to Ellis. But time ran out. A long pass down the right seam by Jones was knocked away by Talley, who was in to play deep safety.
The Whirlwinds picked up a first down on the opening drive of the second half but couldn’t recover when Smith sacked Talley for a loss of 8. They punted the Hornets back to their 18.
The Hornets proceeded to re-assert their dominance by marching 82 yards in 10 plays, adding to the 21-6 lead. Woodson opened the drive with a 23-yard gallop. He later converted a third-and- 4 with a 6-yard burst as the offensive line began to create some nice running lanes.
Jones kept for 20, Woodson dashed for 9 then Jones scrambled 22 yards to set up his 1-yard plunge on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Woodard was stacked up on first down then Ray Davis cut him down for a loss. On third down, however, the Whirlwinds’ tailback broke a 10-yarder, setting up a fourth-and-1 at the Russellville 44.
With nothing left to lose, they went for it. Talley faked a handoff and tossed a screen pass to Woodard only to have Smith and Jakalon Pittman stop him for no gain.
The Hornets took over on downs and seven plays later, Fuller crashed into the end zone from 3-yards out. With Welch’s PAT, the final score was on the board with 1:54 left to play.
Russellville made a bid to add a cosmetic touchdown, driving from its own 25 to the Bryant 48 thanks to a pair of Talley pass completions. But at the 48, his throw down the right seam was picked off by Tristan Calhoun to end the threat.
HORNETS 35, WHIRLWINDS 6
Score by quarters
BRYANT 21 0 0 14 — 35
Russellville 0 6 0 0 — 6
BRYANT — Jones 2 run (Welch kick), 6:36
BRYANT — Jones 13 run (Welch kick), 5:32
BRYANT — Jones 2 run (Welch kick), 0:26.6
RUSSELLVILLE — Woodard 62 pass from Talley (pass failed), 7:08
BRYANT — Jones 1 run (Welch kick), 7:55
BRYANT — Fuller 3 run (Welch kick), 1:54
First downs 15 5
Rushes-yds 40-250 16-19
Passing 1-5-0 6-13-2
Passing yds 9 94
Punts-avg. 2-28.5 3-33.0
Fumbles-lost 3-0 1-1
Penalties-yds 2-10 3-19
Rushing: BRYANT, Jones 20-131, Woodson 11-67, Fuller 9-52; RUSSELLVILLE, Messec 5-12, Woodard 8-11, Talley 3-(-4).
Passing (C-A-I-Y): BRYANT, Jones 1-5-0-9; RUSSELLVILLE, Talley 6-13-2-94.
Receiving: BRYANT, Ellis 1-9; RUSSELLVILLE, Woodard 4-74, Beavers 1-16, Escue 1-4.