Junior Hornets blast defending champs, 26-6
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
SEARCY — Beating the Searcy Lion Cubs the last couple of years has been a tall order for just about every team in the Central Arkansas Junior High Conference. They’ve won back-to-back league championships and, both seasons, the Bryant Junior Hornets were among their victims.
That’s why it was so sweet for the Junior Hornets to travel to Searcy on Thursday, Sept. 8 and pound the Cubs, 26-6, to improve to 2-0 on the season. Running back Aspen Trevino rushed for 194 yards on 14 carries including an 80-yard TD sprint. He was one of four Hornets to score in the game.
“It’s been two years, a long time,” said third-year head coach Jason Hay, “and it’s hard coming up here to win because you’re automatically down by seven when you come on the road here.
“We had a couple of dumb penalties but we held onto the ball a lot better than we did last week,” he added. “Everybody did a good job.”
The Hornets were penalized seven times but like the Cubs’ defense, those penalties could hardly slow Bryant down.
In fact, that was the case right from the start. The Hornets worked a reverse on the opening kickoff. Trevino broke it for a long return to the Searcy 36 but an illegal forward handoff negated the run and then some. Bryant was forced to start at its own 5.
Quarterback Ethan Powell completed passes of 15 yards to Caleb Jobe and 25 yards to Jeremy Jordan while Trevino broke a 39-yard run along the way. The Hornets drove 95 yards in nine plays to paydirt. Powell snuck it in from a yard out and Bryant led 6-0.
Searcy answered with a good drive from its own 35 to the Bryant 19. But, on a first down there, Aaron Schrock and Tad Drennon converged on Cubs quarterback Jason Jennings for a loss of 14 yards.
Searcy never recovered. A 31-yard field goal attempt, moments later, was blocked.
Bryant took over at its 13 and, two plays later, Trevino broke his long touchdown run to make it 12-0.
The teams traded punts until Bryant got the ball with 3:03 left in the half at its 11. Powell and Jobe connected on a 12-yard pass as the Hornets appeared to get the offense going again. But a motion penalty moved them back and an offensive pass interference penalty negated a 30-yard completion and, once again, they were forced to punt.
And once again, they overcame the penalties, not once but twice. A short punt and a 10-yard return gave the Cubs possession 35 yards away from a touchdown. But on a first-down pass, Ryan McKnight intercepted and returned it all the way for a Bryant score.
But a block in the back behind the play negated the TD and much of the return. Unfazed, the Hornets ran a reverse to Dylan Chism who wove his way 35 yards for the score. Trevino ran in the two-point conversion and, with :52 left in the half, Bryant led 20-0.
Searcy got its only points on the first possession of the second half when Jamie Carr broke a 69-yard run for a touchdown, accounting for almost half of the Cubs’ total offense for the game. The point-after was blocked, leaving it 20-6.
And back came Bryant in no time. McKnight returned the kickoff 33 yards to the Searcy 48. After Powell kept for 16 yards and Trevino dashed for 9 more, Jordan took a flanker sweep to the house from 23 yards out to make it 26-6 with 4:15 left in the game.
Trevino, who like all the Bryant starters didn’t play in the fourth quarter, finished his night with a 19-yard run on the last play of the third quarter to give him 194 yards rushing for the night.
The Bryant defense limited Searcy to one first down (by penalty) the rest of the game. Brandon Peach had a tackle for lost yardage and, as they had before, the Hornets made up for the penalty. The mark-off converted a fourth-down play but two plays later, Trey Buckhalter intercepted a pass and returned it 4 yards short of the goal line with 3:49 left in the game.
Though they didn’t score, the Hornets used up all but :36 of the clock.
Bryant will play its first home game of the season on Thursday, Sept. 15, against the Morrilton Devil Pups.