Mustangs crack Conway
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
CONWAY — With highly-touted linebacker Canon Chandler, the Conway White Wampus Kittens figured to be a sterner test for the Bryant Junior High Mustangs than the Sylvan Hills Junior Bears the week before. But, behind the 1-2 punch of halfback Matt White and fullback Andy Summers, the Mustangs rolled once again, picking up their first Central Arkansas Junior High Conference victory, 32-8 at John McConnell Stadium.
White rushed for 140 yards and four touchdowns on 15 carries and Summers added 84 yards on 10 tries as Bryant amasses 264 yards of total offense in the victory.
Both teams were plagued by penalties but the Mustangs got much the worst of it with 94 yards marked off against them on nine miscues.
But Bryant forced three Conway turnovers and held the Kittens to just five first downs. As was the case in the opener, the Mustangs’ reserves had taken over when the opposition’s first team managed its lone score.
“As far as effort, enthusiasm and all that, I couldn’t ask for more,” said Mustangs head coach Scott Neathery. “Our kids do a great job. Defensively, we give up a little here and there but we always seem to make the big play and I like to see that.
“One thing that concerns me is penalties, penalties, penalties,” he allowed. “We got a lot of penalties. And we had to call timeouts because we didn’t have people in the game. Those are the kinds of mistakes we’re going to have to iron out.”
The Mustangs scored on each of their three first-half possessions then used up the entire third quarter with a long touchdown drive to put the game away.
The first march began after Jason Rose recovered a Conway fumble at the Bryant 35. Despite a clipping penalty that put them in a second-and-21 hole, the Mustangs drove to paydirt. A personal foul against Conway after a 7-yard run by White on a third-and-16 helped keep the drive alive. Summers contributed a 13-yard rumble. White capped the march, scoring from the 12 with :06 left in the first quarter.
White ran in the two-point conversion and it was 8-0.
The Mustangs, aided by a holding penalty, forced a Conway punt and the offense returned to the field at the 50. Three plays later, Bryant faced a fourth-and-1 at the 41. White took a pitch, was hit in the backfield, but shrugged off the tackler and broke into the secondary where he spun out of another’s grasp on the way to a 17-yard gain that fired up the Mustangs.
Summers bulled to the 9 on two carries then White scored the touchdown and tacked on another run for two to make it 16-0.
An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after the touchdown run cost the Mustangs on the ensuing kickoff and Conway gained possession at the Bryant 48. But, after picking up a first down (with the help of a face mask penalty), Conway coughed the ball up again. Defensive end Cody Graddy stripped the ball and noseman Nate Roe recovered at the Bryant 29 with :57 left in the half.
Too far to go for another score? Not hardly for these Mustangs. Quarterback Kevin Littleton hit White with a screen pass and the Bryant runner took advantage of his blocking for a 31-yard gain. On the next play, White took a pitch on the sweep and sailed 40 yards for a back-breaking TD that, with the two-point conversion, made it 24-0 at the half.
The Mustangs’ third-quarter drive covered 78 yards, 12 plays and four penalties — three against the Mustangs. An 18-yard rumble by Summers helped overcome an early holding flag. Later, Conway’s roughing the passer penalty negated previous motion and clipping infractions by the Mustangs.
When the dust settled, Summers rambled for 21 yards to the Conway 21 and, three plays later, White scored from the 5. This time, Zack Dickson powered in for the two-point conversion to make it 32-0 with no time left on the clock.
On Conway’s second play of the fourth quarter, Rose shot the gap and smacked quarterback Dennis Jones as he was trying to hand off to tailback John Duhart. The hit blew the exchange and the loose ball was recovered by the Mustangs’ Matt Clarke at the Conway 13.
Three plays later, however, the Kittens’ Jason Deere intercepted a pass at the 3 with 4:51 left to play. Conway pushed out to the 34 on four running plays then Duhart took a pitch 66 yards for a touchdown with 2:32 left. He also ran for two, setting the final score.
Now 2-0 overall, the Mustangs return to conference action this week when they host Sheridan, also 2-0, in an early-season league showdown.