Freshman Hornets shackle Fair to go 3-0
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
There will be, no doubt, one Thursday evening this season that Bryant Hornets freshman quarterback Ethan Powell will save the day. The defense will be struggling to stop the opposition, the running game will be stalled and Powell will be picking up his teammates by producing yardage and points in the passing game.
But Thursday, Sept. 15, was not Powell’s night. The young quarterback struggled to a 2-for-8 night passing with two interceptions and a fumble.
So, it was hit teammates’ turn to pick him up. And, after all, that’s what good teams are about.
Offensively, Hornets running back Aspen Trevino dashed for 194 yards rushing on 15 carries and caught one of Powell’s passes and turned it into a 33-yard touchdown. Defensively, the Hornets limited the J.A. Fair War Eagles to a net of 55 yards of total offense. Bryant dropped War Eagles for losses 11 times in the game and came up with its second shutout in three games this season, 14-0.
“We weren’t real disciplined in a lot of areas, especially offensively,” stated Bryant head coach Jason Hay. “At times, our defense looked really, really good. Just had a couple of breakdowns. But that’s just part of it.
“We had to rely a little bit more on our running game tonight,” he continued. “Our quarterback just didn’t have a good night but we’re going to stand behind him. He’s going to get us out of more games throwing that he is going to hurt us. We’re not down on anybody but we are going to get it fixed.”
The Hornets improved to 3-0 on the season with a trip to Morrilton set for Thursday, Sept. 22, their final game outside of the South Division of the Central Arkansas Conference.
The Hornets got off to a good start against Fair. Ryan McKnight, after bobbling the opening kickoff, returned it all the way out to the 41. From there, Trevino crashed for runs of 16 and 20 yards to the Fair 23. His 11-yard run from there, however, was negated by penalty and the Hornets never quite got all of that back, turning it over on downs at the 19.
Fair picked up on of its four first downs in the game on a reverse that Tracy Wright turned into a 20-yard gain with a tackle-breaking rumble. But three plays later, the War Eagles were no further down the field. A third-and-8 play at the 42 was foiled by Jeremy Jordan who dropped tailback Stephen Huston for a loss.
And when a high snap on the punt had to be tracked down and covered by Wright, Bryant took over at the Fair 33.
Powell hit Trevino with a swing pass and, breaking three tackles along the way, Trevino turned it into a touchdown. Austin Bradley’s extra point made it 7-0 with 1:30 left in the first quarter.
A 16-yard run by Wright picked up a first down for Fair on its subsequent possession but Austin Humbard made a stop for no gain, Jordan and Dylan Chism combined on a tackle for a loss then Jordan, Nathan Lee and Aaron Schrock combined on a tackle after a one-yard pickup on third down. Fair got its punt away despite another high snap and Bryant was back in business at its own 26.
But a pair of penalties derailed the Hornets next drive. Runs of 25 and 22 yards by Trevino helped get them to the Fair 16. Powell completed a pass to Jordan but a penalty negated it. A play later, the quarterback scrambled for a first down to convert a fourth down at the 12 but another penalty pushed the ball back and the Hornets turned the ball over on downs.
Fair, in turn, appeared to have a touchdown when Huston broke a 64-yard run. But an illegal block negated the play and the half was soon over with Bryant still leading 7-0.
The War Eagles would not manage another first down until late in the game as the Hornets intensified their efforts on defense. Penalties also plagued Fair. Three of them undermined their first possession of the second half. And when they intercepted a pass to get the ball back, the return into Bryant territory was sabotaged by another illegal block.
In turn, the War Eagles went no where on three plays. On second down, McKnight made a splendid tackle to drop Wright for a loss. On third, he combined with Jordan and Tad Drennon to stop Steven Morris after a pickup of a yard.
Another high snap ensued and the Hornets appeared to get a partial block on Wright’s punt. The ball was downed at the War Eagles 35.
From there, Trevino dashed 8 yards to the 27 and, on the next play, he wove his way through the Fair defense to another touchdown. When Bradley booted the PAT the final score was on the board with 1:24 left in the third quarter.
Fair lost yardage on two plays on their next possession with Humbard then Dijon Benton leading the charge for Bryant’s defense.
Fair got the ball back with an interception but, again, couldn’t budge the Hornets D. On a third-and-6 at their 29, the War Eagles’ Wright was dumped for a loss of 2 by McKnight to force yet another punt.
And when Bryant’s next possession ended in a fumble that the War Eagles recovered, they finally picked up a first down, converting a third-and-1 at midfield. But, on the very next play, the Hornets got it back as Chism pounced on a mishandled snap with 2:46 to play, clinching the win.
“It was a win,” said Hay. “It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t what we were looking for but we got it done and that may be a good sign when you’re not playing good and you can win. But that’s not going to be good enough to get it done when conference starts.”