Powell sparks Hornets to 5-1
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
Bryant Hornets freshman head coach Kenny Horn admits it flat out. “If you’d told me before the season that we’d be 5-1 at this point, I would’ve taken it without playing a game especially with injuries to two starters (tackle Seth Alkire and linebacker Parker Dunn). These kids have come a long way and our coaches have just done a tremendous job but we’ve still got some work to do.”
The Hornets improved to 5-1 overall and 2-1 in the South Division of the Central Arkansas Junior High Conference with a 28-8 thumping of the North Little Rock Junior Charging Wildcats at Bryant Stadium on Thursday, Oct. 9. They stayed just one game behind the division’s co-leaders Lake Hamilton and Cabot South.
Jacob Powell slashed the Wildcats’ defense for 158 yards on just 16 carries and four touchdowns to lead the way. Powell found the end zone on his first carry of the night and his last.
The former was set up by a dominant performance from the Bryant defense on North Little Rock’s opening possession with went backward. And, on a fourth-and-18 from its 25, the Wildcats set up to punt only to have a bad snap result in a 12-yard loss.
Bryant took over at the 13 and Powell got the call right away, lacing his way through the Cats for the score.
On the extra point, the Hornets lined up in a swinging gate formation, which they often do. Normally, they shift back into a standard kicking alignment but this time they didn’t shift. Brantley Cozart, who normally holds for Jace Denker’s kicks, grabbed the snap and took off right on an option play, tucking inside and just clearing the goal line for make it a two-point conversion.
After the Wildcats managed first down and got into Bryant territory for the first time, Blue Smith came up with a tackle for a loss then the Hornets foiled a double reverse for another setback of 7 yards. Even though it was a fourth-and-19 at the Bryant 47, the Wildcats eschewed the kick and went for it but quarterback Kaylon Cooper was stopped well short of the first down and Bryant took over.
The Hornets were forced to punt moments later but when Cooper muffed the catch at the other end of Powell’s kick, Caleb Thomas scooped up the loose ball and streaked into the end zone. Unfortunately, by rule, the ball could not be advanced so the Hornets’ offense took possession at the 35.
And they wound up getting the score anyway. Two plays later, Powell slashed 26 yards to the end zone to make it 14-0.
The Hornets stopped a North Little Rock drive that reached the Bryant 25 with 1:28 left in the half and threatened to add to the lead when quarterback Dylan Cross completed passes to Sawyer Nichols and Thomas. The first connection with Sawyer went for 32 yards but an illegal block negated about half of it. Later, an 18-yard completion converted a third-down at the 37. With 16 seconds left, Cross found Thomas for 17 yards to the 25 but a fumbled snap and the end of the half arrived leaving it 14-0 at the break.
The Wildcats opened the second half with an onside kick that they managed to recover at the Bryant 48. Moments later, they faced a fourth-and-4 at the 42 when Cooper optioned left and pitched to running back Kendall Williams. Bryant tackle Blue Smith crashed in and not only tackled the ball carrier Williams but Cooper as well at the same time.
The Hornets took over and Powell busted a 45-yard run to the 6. He scored from there on the next play and Denker booted the extra point to make it 21-0.
In turn, North Little Rock drove to the Bryant 15 with the help of a major penalty. But on second-and-10, Garret Hall sacked Cooper at the 18 and, two incomplete passes later, the Hornets had the ball again.
Sparked by a 47-yard pass from Cross to Nichols, the Hornets reached the Wildcats’ 17 but, on a first down there, Powell was separated from the ball and North Little Rock recovered with 6:53 to play.
But the Hornets held again, stopping a fourth-down run by Cooper at the 31. From there, Powell carried three times including a 19-yard jaunt on first down. He scored from the 5 with 2:44 to play.
Horn started sifting in reserves after that and North Little Rock drove for its only score, a 17-yard pass from Cooper to Cody Ware with 0:27.2 showing on the clock.
The Hornets host Little Rock Catholic this Thursday.