Hornets extract triple-overtime win over Wolves
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
Right up to the moment that they clinched their victory on Brandon St. Pierre’s second interception of the game, the Bryant Hornets seemed on the verge of a loss Friday night against the Lake Hamilton Wolves.
That’s part of what made the thrilling 37-31 triple-overtime victory so tremendous. When the chips were down, the Hornets found a way with whatever was called for.
At various times during the game, the defense picked up the offense when it faltered; the offense picked up the defense when it struggled; and when the special teams, which had been solid all night, slipped up near the end, the defense stepped up again.
That, sports fans, is teamwork at its most effective.
“This can go a long way,” declared Bryant head coach Daryl Patton. “To win a game like this, late in the year, to give us a winning season, to ensure the seniors of being the (school’s) all-time winningest class, it can go a long way going into next week. We’ve got a tough team in Texarkana but we’re good enough to beat them. We can beat anybody in this conference if we play. And if we go down there and play well, we can come away with a victory.”
Texarkana, by virtue of a 20-19 win over previously unbeaten Pine Bluff on Friday, jumped into a three-way tie for first in the conference along with the Zebras and El Dorado Wildcats. The Hornets, along with the rival Benton Panthers, are just a game off the pace.
Against Lake Hamilton, the Hornets scored on a pair of big plays in the first half that accounted for most of their offense against a tough Lake Hamilton defense which forced five Bryant turnovers.
Matt White, who accumulated 148 yards on 20 carries in the game to make him Bryant’s first 1,000-yard rusher in several years, broke loose on a 64-yard touchdown run on the Hornets’ third play to make it 7-0.
Bryant tried an onside kick afterwards but Lake Hamilton recovered and, thanks in large part to a 36-yard pass from quarterback Jon Meyers to wingback Cody Dorsey, drove for a tying TD. Two plays after the pass, tailback Matt Brady scored from the 4.
Brady, who came in with almost the same yardage total on the season as White, was held to 68 yards on 21 carries for Lake Hamilton. His 1,000 will have to wait until this week’s game against Benton.
It stayed 7-7 until after Lake Hamilton’s Edward Anaya had a 33-yard field goal attempt blocked early in the second quarter. Bryant recovered at the 19. White rushed for 5 yards but then quarterback Lance Parker mishandled a shotgun snap and the Hornets lost 9 yards. On a third-and-14 from the 15, the Hornets went deep. Parker’s splendid pass was hauled in by wideout A.J. Nixon in full stride behind the defense and turned into an 85-yard touchdown play.
After that, however, Bryant could muster little offense.
The defense, meanwhile, foiled a fake punt that Lake Hamilton actually attempted from their own 27. That gave the Hornets possession just that far from paydirt. But, attempting to set up a screen pass, White fell down and Parker had to take a 17-yard loss. On the next play, Parker’s pass was tipped and intercepted.
The Hornets defense got it right back, however, when St. Pierre got his first pick at midfield.
The two teams exchanged punts the rest of the half.
Nixon returned the second-half kickoff 50 yards and Bryant started at the Lake Hamilton 37. But, again, the Hornets’ offense sputtered. On a fourth-and-1 at the 28, White was stopped short.
Again, the teams traded punts. Bryant’s Matt Clarke made an interception but, on the next play, Lake Hamilton’s Justin Meeks recovered a fumble. Later, in the quarter, Jared Green recovered a Bryant fumble at the Hornets’ 16. The Wolves got to the 9 where, on a third-and-3, Meyers was separated from the ball and Jason Rose, who was in on 18 tackles in the game, recovered.
A play later, however, Lake Hamilton’s Joe Greeson intercepted a pass.
That led to a drive to the Bryant 6. Again the Hornets defense stepped up to stop the drive. But, this time, Anaya kicked a field goal to make it 14-10.
A 21-yard run by White accounted for just the second first down of the half for Bryant but, moments later, the Hornets were punting again. Matt Sullivan pinned Lake Hamilton down at 5 but a motion penalty negated the play. Sullivan came back with a kick that went out of bounds at the 15. So, with 6:55 left to play, Lake Hamilton was 85 yards away from a go-ahead score against a defense that had bent but never broken and had forced three turnovers.
It took 14 plays including a fourth-down conversion and two other third-down conversions, but the Wolves got there. With 1:25 left, Brady scored from the 1 to give Lake Hamilton a 17-14 lead that looked like a winner.
But, after being stagnate for most of the game, Bryant’s offense suddenly came to life. A 17-yard completion from Parker to Nixon got things going. Two passes to Jonathan Jameson and another to Nixon had the Hornets as the 12 with :32 left.
A pair of incomplete passes followed, however, and Bryant faced a third down. Parker scrambled to the 5 and, with :15 left, senior Anthony Moreno was called upon to attempt a tying field goal.
It was a spot that the Hornets had been in before and not executed so the tension was thick as they lined up for the kick. Moreno, however, came through to tie the game and force overtime.
“It’s a credit to the kids,” said Patton. “Lake Hamilton came out and played well. And, really, they had a great game plan. They confused (quarterback) Lance (Parker). Lance got rattled a little bit. But, I tell you, that’s why I think Lance is going to be one of the best quarterbacks in the state. To have the game he had — it was not a good game — and then, in that fourth quarter, a minute left, he’s got to suck it up and find a way to get his team down the field. And he made some big-time plays. He got us down there and gave us a chance. That’s a sign of a great leader. The offense, the way they came together for that last drive, was unreal.
“Then, the defense — (the offense) put them in a lot of bad positions and time after time they kept coming through,” Patton added.
In overtimes in high school, each team is given a chance to score from 10 and as long as they match results, the overtimes continue.
The Hornets came close to winning it in the first overtime. They scored first on a 1-yard plunge by White that was set up by his own tough, determined 9-yard blast on first down.
Lake Hamilton answered with trickery that nearly backfired. On a double reverse, Greeson wound up with the ball after lining up at wide receiver. He was looking to pass but was forced deeper and deeper by the Bryant rush. Defensive tackle Josh White and defensive end Andy Summers each had a shot at Greeson as far back as the 25 yard line. White blasted him just as he got a pass away. The fluttering aerial somehow found its way to Marshall Landrum who made a diving catch in the end zone for the touchdown.
Lake Hamilton then almost won it in the second overtime. After Meyers scored from the 2, Bryant got to the 3 then had two plays that lost yardage. Facing a fourth down at the 9, the Hornets took advantage of a Lake Hamilton timeout to set up a play. Parker rolled out to the right and found Jameson in the corner of the end zone. Jameson went down and cradled the low pass for the touchdown that kept the Hornets alive, 31-31.
Bryant tried first in the third overtime and appeared to score on the first play. But an ineligible player was downfield negating the score and setting the Hornets back to the 15. Parker came back with a completion to Zack Cardinal at the 1. White scored from there.
But, Moreno’s extra point was no good, leaving it open for Lake Hamilton to win with an answering touchdown and a successful extra point.
After a delay of game penalty pushed them back to the 15, the Wolves went with trickery again. Brady took a handoff on an apparent sweep but pulled up for a halfback pass, lofting it towards the back of the end zone where St. Pierre came down with it to end the game.