Six turnovers help Jr. Hornets
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
If the Bryant Hornets freshmen needed a confidence boost, they got it on Thursday, Sept. 11, with a 33-8 thumping of the Little Rock Hall Junior Warriors at Bryant Stadium.
The Hornets turned four of the six turnovers by Hall into touchdowns including three for 20 points in the first quarter on the way to improving to 2-0 on the season.
Though obviously pleased with the win, head coach Kenny Horn tempered his enthusiasm (and any over-confidence his team might garner from the lopsided win), saying, “We were fortunate. Credit (Hall’s) coaches and their kids. They don’t get a whole lot practice at their school but they still showed up to play and they played hard. I know that some of the turnovers were because of that.
“Offensively, we throw and catch well,” he continued. “ Run game, we’re getting to the point where we are executing a little bit better. At least, we’re getting to the right people (to block) now. We’ve still got just a few little things to fix, make sure we’re all on the same page kind of stuff and execution. We’re getting better. I feel like we’ve got one of the best running backs in the conference and if we can just create a little bit of space for him, he’ll do some good things.
“I do like where our defense is effort-wise,” he added. “We’re getting there. We’re okay. I don’t think we’re where we need to be yet. And, no matter how you cut it, tonight we stripped the ball and we recovered the ball and we capitalized. And that’s a good thing.”
Hall’s first fumble concluded its initial possession. Sam Stoops recovered for Bryant at the Warriors’ 41. Going right to the air, quarterback Dylan Cross hit Sawyer Nichols with a 13-yard pass play that was extended 5 yards because of a face mask penalty. A play later, the duo hooked up again on a beauty of a completion for a 25-yard touchdown.
Jace Denker kicked the extra point and it was 7-0.
After the Warriors’ Geraud Peoples picked up the ensuing kickoff and went out of bounds at his own 12, a bad pitch created a loose football in the end zone and when Bryant’s Blue Smith pounced on it, the Hornets had another TD.
Again Denker converted to make it 14-0 on two touchdowns in 16 seconds.
On the very next snap for the Warriors, another fumble occurred and Smith recovered again at the Hall 31. With the help of a 10-yard run by Jacob Powell and an offsides penalty that converted a fourth-and-one, the Hornets reached the 17. But a holding penalty set them back.
No problem, however, as Cross and Nichols teamed on on the exact same route that produced points earlier. This time, the play covered 27 yards for a score and a 20-0 lead going into the second quarter.
The completion was the fifth in a row to start the game for Cross who finished 7 of 11 for 82 yards.
And when the kickoff was fielded by Hall at the 6 and the return mane was dumped at the 4 by Tyler Jamison and Omar Gulley, it looked like the Hornets might be able to get more good field position and, perhaps, another score in short order.
But, on a quarterback sneak, Hall’s Reggie Frazier broke clean and out-ran the defense for a 96-yard run to paydirt. Devin Cunning added a run for a two-point conversion and it was 20-8.
Then, when the Hornets committed their lone turnover on the subsequent kickoff, Hall was suddenly in position to make a game of it, taking over at the Bryant 34. Frazier, playing tailback, rolled 26 yards to the 7 but, a play later, the Hornets forced another fumble as Stoops and Johnathan Parks smacked down fullback David Badgett. Cameron Price recovered for the Hornets and the threat was turned back.
Bryant was forced to punt, however, and Hall got another shot to score before the half. The Warriors drove to the 20 where, on first down, Casey Goforth dropped Cunning for a loss and the Warriors couldn’t recover. A fourth-down pass fell incomplete and the Hornets took over with :25.7 left in the half.
And Hall’s first series in the second half ended with another fumble. Frazier was separated from the football and Garrett Hall recovered for Bryant at the Warriors’ 39. In seven plays, the Hornets drove to the end zone. A key play came on a third-and-4 at the 22. Cross threw a swing pass to Powell who turned it into a 14-yard gain to the 8. A holding penalty pushed the Hornets back to the 17 but Powell scored from there on a dash over the left side, running over a would-be tackler inside the 5.
A try for two failed but Bryant led 26-8.
It stayed that way until midway through the fourth quarter when the Hornets began working in reserves. Hall punted from its own 9 but only got an 11-yard kick. From the 20, Stoops, in at running back, broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage and barreled into the end zone with 4:16 left in the game.
Denker, thanks in large part to fine job by holder Brantley Cozart to get a low snap on the tee, kicked it to 33-8 to complete the scoring.
The Junior Hornets are set to host Conway White in their final non-conference game on Thursday, Sept. 18.