Hornets hammer Hall in return to form
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, BryantDaily.com will continueposting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on BryantDaily.com (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).
By ROB PATRICK
LITTLE ROCK — After consecutive losses by less than a touchdown, it didn’t really matter what team the Bryant Hornets faced on Friday, Oct. 18. It just happened to be the Little Rock Hall Warriors at Scott Field. Too bad it was Homecoming too.
The Hornets put an end to their frustrations and continued the misery of the Warriors with a 41-8 romp.
Bryant showed that you don’t have to have the ball for a long time to be productive. Just as was the case in their losses to Little Rock Central and Little Rock McClellan, time of possession was heavily in favor of the opposition.
The difference was, however, that, against Hall, the Hornets produced points, scoring on their first six possessions and seven of eight.
And just because your defense is on the field a lot, doesn’t mean it’s going to give up points.
In fact, Bryant’s offense only ran three plays in the first quarter of the game compared to 29 by the Warriors, yet the Hornets led 7-0.
Hall took the opening possession and kept the ball for seven minutes with a drive that was extended by a 7-yard run by punter Jason Deslandes after he bobbled a snap. The march reached the Bryant 16 then died.
The Hornets took over on downs. On their first play, they ran a reverse on which Zach Cardinal avoided being tackled for a loss and found a way to gain 5 yards. On the next play, quarterback Lance Parker fired a deep pass to A.J. Nixon who out-ran the Hall secondary on a 74-yard touchdown play.
It was the first of three touchdown passes for Parker who had just 10 completions in three quarters of action but which averaged over 20 yards apiece.
Todd Bryan, who would go on to score 23 of the Hornets’ points, booted the extra point to make it 7-0 after a 22 second possession.
Bryan, who had struggled with his accuracy in recent games, put in extra work during the week and it paid off big. He not only was perfect on five extra points but he booted field goals of 41 and 29 yards then, playing receiver, hauled in a pair of touchdown passes, one from Parker and one from Bryan Griffith.
Trailing 7-0, Hall’s offense which featured the tough, shifty running of workhorse halfback Richard Rideout, came back with good field position at the 49 after a 33-yard kickoff return by Shawn Kornegay. The Warriors reached the Bryant 38 where, on a third-and-7, Rideout appeared to pick up the first down on a sweep. But a holding penalty negated the run and a dead-ball personal foul was tacked on. On third and 38, Bryant defensive end Aaron Johnson knocked down a pass attempt by quarterback Joe White and Hall was forced to punt.
But the Hornets, trying to block the kick, were hit with a roughing the kicker penalty and Hall gained a new set of downs.
The Warriors made it back to the Bryant 31 when White threw toward the end zone only to have his pass knocked away at the last minute by cornerback Bo Lee. At that point, Hall head coach Byron Shells put up such a protest that he drew two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and was ejected from the game.
Hall wound up having to punt and Bryant got the ball back for its third offensive snap with :07 left in the quarter.
A 58-yard scoring drive resulted. It featured a breakout run by Parker of 32 yards. He then hit Cardinal for a 21-yard completion. A play later, that combo clicked again on a 9 yard TD toss. The drive took one minute, 32 seconds.
Disheartened, Hall, in turn, went three plays and out. Bryant got the ball back just 41 yards from paydirt. The Hornets reached the 18 but could go no further and, after a penalty knocked them back to the 23, Bryan drilled his 41-yard field goal to make it 17-0. It capped a 42 second possession.
Good defensive plays by Jon Newlin, Josh White and Matt Cooley forced Hall to give the ball up on downs.
Parker’s swing pass to Zach Young broke for 15 yards then Brandon St. Pierre dashed for 24 yards on a wingback reverse, reaching the 12. The drive stalled there but Bryan was good from 29 yards to finish the 1:04 possession. It was 20-0.
Hall used up the final 3:19 of the half driving from its own 2 to midfield.
The Hornets’ offense took a little more time to start the second half scoring. Cardinal’s 33-yard kickoff return gave them good field position at their own 45. Then, they used all of three minutes to get to the end zone. A 20-yard pass from Parker to Richie Wood set up the march. On a fourth-and-nine at the Hall 32, the Hornets gained a first down thanks to a pass interference penalty, which actually prevented a touchdown.
From the 22, Young burst 14 yards and three plays later, Parker kept for a 4-yard touchdown run. Bryan made it 27-0.
A fumble recovery by Cooley at the Hall 14 set up a nine-second possession. Parker passed Bryan for the touchdown and a 34-0 lead.
That was one of three second-half turnovers by the Warriors. John Dunaway recovered a fumble and Jeremy Newlin intercepted a pass.
Hall got its only touchdown on a 56 yard run by Rideout with :31 left in the third quarter. Rideout finished with 160 yards on 29 carries.
Griffith took over at quarterback two plays into the next Bryant possession, at the start of the fourth quarter. His 39-yard completion to Bryan reached the 2 and, moments later, the two combined on a 1-yard TD pass, capping a possession that used a whopping 4:34. Bryan’s extra point set the final score.
The Hornets had two subsequent possessions both in Hall territory. Their only turnover foiled the first at the 21 and time ran out on the second at the 15.
Bryant was set to celebrate Homecoming on Friday, Oct. 25, against Little Rock Parkview.