Mercy! Hornets overwhelm Wildcats
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
Comedian George Carlin has a classic routine in which he contrasts the natures of football and baseball, illustrating it by virtue of the very terminology used to describe both: the pastoral nature of baseball versus the war-like qualities of football.
“In football the object is for the quarterback, otherwise known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use the shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy’s defensive line.
“In baseball the object is to go home! And to be safe!”
— Brain Droppings, Hyperion, 1997
You get the idea.
With that in mind, a description of the Bryant Hornets’ 38-3 win over the El Dorado Wildcats on Friday, Sept. 7, might be go something like this:
The Hornets hammered the Wildcats to the ground and stepped on their necks.
So dominant was Bryant’s defense, in particular, that the Wildcats only managed 18 offensive snaps in the first half — only four of which actually gained yardage — and didn’t manage a first down until after the “mercy rule” had been put into effect, with 2:06 or so left in the third quarter.
El Dorado netted 1 — that’s one — yard of total offense in the first half, and even with Bryant working everyone into the game in the second half, wound up with just 76 yards of total offense in the contest.
All of that, despite the fact that all-State linebacker Jared Szabad, an all-State performer last season, was out of the lineup with an injury to his shoulder, suffered in the season-opening win over Benton.
The defensive line, collectively named Regionals Bank Defensive Players of the Game on the Hornets’ radio broadcast, refused to be blocked. They played one series in the second half and dropped El Dorado’s senior quarterback Jeremy Gill, a three-year starter, for losses on two of them.
The result was a short field much of the half for the Hornets offense which, nonetheless, piled up 213 yards of offense along the way.
“I asked them to go out there and compete hard, to play the best you can play,” Bryant head coach Paul Calley said of his players. “We did that. Defensively, we were dominating. Offensively, we took advantage of our opportunities. That’s what you have to do to be a good football team.”
Actually, the Hornets’ o-line, collectively named the Regions Bank Offensive Players of the Game, struggled for a few plays early against the Wildcats’ quick d-line. And Calley had predicted they might because his troops hadn’t faced that kind of quickness yet this year.
Still, it didn’t sidetrack the opening drive in which the Hornets marched 69 yards in 14 plays to paydirt. The drive was capped by a quarterback sneak from 2 yards out that gave senior Logan Parker his first varsity touchdown.
Parker had completed 4 of 5 passes along the way including a 15-yard strike to Jake Jackson to convert a third-and-12 and get the Hornets to the El Dorado 18.
The Hornets, in fact, were phenomenal on third down, converted 8 of 9 to start the game on the way to building their 35-0 halftime bulge.
Parker was 12 of 19 for 106 yards and two touchdowns, all in the first half. Junior Ethan Powell, playing the final series in the first half and most of the second, added 6 completions in 8 attempts for 58 yards.
Seven different receivers hauled in passes led by Jackson with five catches for 40 yards and two scores. Taylor Masters caught four for 45 including a 30-yarder that set up the second of those Parker-Jackson TD hook-ups.
Aspen Trevino wound up with 79 yards on 15 carries with all but two attempts in the first half.
With Bryant up 7-0, the two teams traded punts. But, on Austin Humbard’s booming kick for Bryant, El Dorado’s Marcus Parker retreated to attempt an over-the-shoulder catch and muffed it. Ryan McKnight pounced on the loose ball for the Hornets at the Wildcats 19.
A 9-yard pass from Parker to Masters converted a third-and-7 from the 16. Two plays later, Trevino appeared to convert yet another third down with a 4-yard dash into the end zone but a holding penalty negated the play.
The Hornets, facing third-and-goal from the 12, promptly converted again with Parker and Jackson making the connection for the touchdown.
Austin Bradley, who was 5 for 5 on extra points and added a 25-yard field goal early in the second half, made it 14-0.
Bryant got the ball back quickly when Jordan Knight intercepted a third-down pass attempt by Gill at the El Dorado 37.
The Wildcats’ defense put up a fight, making Bryant use nine plays, but couldn’t keep the Hornets out of the end zone. Dylan Chism, twisting and churning, muscled his way into the end zone from 4 yards out and Bradley made it 21-0 with 8:27 left in the half.
After the second of Bradley’s three kickoffs that reached the end zone for touchbacks, El Dorado lost 4 yards in three plays — a pair of incompletions and a smackdown by end Raylen Cantrell for a loss on a run attempt — Gill went back to punt.
Cantrell showed up again.
This time, he swatted down Gill’s kick, chased down the deflection and covered it just before it rolled out of the back of the end zone. The resulting touchdown made it 28-0.
And the Wildcats continued to reel. Their next possession included two lost-yardage plays and an incompletion.
Bryant got the ball back after a punt 51 yards away from another score. It took just five plays, all passes. Parker completed four of them including the 30-yard shot to Masters who was dragged down at the 5 and the subsequent toss to Jackson.
The second team offense took over on the Hornets’ last possession of the half and Powell connected with Tim Floyd on a fade route. Floyd, the 6-4 junior, made a splendid grab over two defenders and stepped out of bounds just behind midfield. But the drive stalled and Bryant took its 35-0 lead to the locker room.
Cantrell sacked Gill for a loss on the first series of the second half then a fumble that Gill managed to cover lost 8 more and another punt.
Trevino slashed for runs of 13 and 8 yards to get the Hornets to the El Dorado 17 and Calley pulled his starters.
The second group reached the 8 but a hold cost them. They ran out of downs once they got back to the 7 on an 8-yard pass from Powell to Chris Arnold and a 3-yard connection to Andrew Burney. Bradley came on and booted his field goal to make it 38-0.
El Dorado answered with a drive from its own 20 to the 14 when the Hornets’ second-team defense stood the Wildcats up. El Dorado settled for Christian Ridings’ 31-yard field goal.
This week, the Hornets travel to Fort Smith to test themselves against the defending Class 7A State champion Southside Rebels.