Turnovers told the tale Thursday night at the ninth Hornet Bowl between the eighth grade teams from Bethel Middle School (Bryant Blue) and Bryant Middle School (Bryant White).
Both teams had them but Bethel took greater advantage, particularly in the second half when two of Bryant White’s turnovers were turned into points as Blue forged a 21-12 win.
It was the second year in a row for Bethel to win the game after Bryant Middle had won four in a row. White holds a 5-4 edge in the series that started in 2006.
Thursday’s game was sealed when White, which scored with 2:40 left to play, had a two-point conversion attempt denied by Blue after it was pushed back by penalty.
That left White two scores down with little time to make it up. Blue’s Jake Self recovered an onside kick with 2:39 to go and Bethel ran out the clock behind a strong offensive line and the running of Tyler O’Neal.
The win improved Blue to 4-0 on the season going into their trip to Russellville on Thursday, Oct. 16. Blue dropped to 3-2 with a home contest against Little Rock Horace Mann set for Tuesday, Oct. 14.
White quarterback Jesse Windemaker rushed 12 times for 78 yards including a 30-yard touchdown. He also completed 7 of 16 passes for 218 yards and a TD. But he also suffered an interception. Logan Grant caught four of those tosses for 118 yards. Andrew Hayes hauled in the other three for 100 yards and a touchdown.
For Blue, quarterback Randy Thomas rushed 69 times on 11 tries with a touchdown. He also completed 3 of 6 passes for 71 yards and a score. Keethan Hudson added 50 yards on 11 rushes with a touchdown. O’Neal picked up 61 yards on 11 carries.
White opened the game with a drive that produced a first down but when O’Neal and Wyatt Hoyt made tackles for losses, Windemaker’s 12-yard pass to Grant was short of a new set of downs.
After Grant punted, however, a fumble on Blue’s first snap gave White a short field. Windemaker and Grant hooked up for 15 yards then the quarterback broke his touchdown run. A try for a two-point conversion failed when Thomas intercepted Windemaker’s pass.
In turn, however, Blue drove for its first score, covering 61 yards on just three plays. The third of those was Thomas’ 42-yard strike to Josh Robinson. And when Martin Ramirez added the extra point, Bethel led 7-6.
White took its turn on offense and had a good drive going, keyed by a 35-yard pass from Windemaker to Hayes. The drive reached the Bethel 35 and Windemaker converted a fourth down with an 8-yard run only to be separated from the ball at the end of it. Dalton Winkler recovered for Blue.
Thomas dashed for 17 yards to spark a drive that reached the White 17. But, on second down there, Eric Tabler and Ty Dawson dropped Hudson for a loss. Thomas attempted a pair of passes and both fell incomplete as White took over on downs.
A 54-yard pass completion from Windemaker to Grant gave White a chance to score in the final seconds of the half. Down to :08.6 left, the quarterback completed a 26-yard strike to Hayes.
White coach Brad Smothermon called timeout with one second left, giving his team one shot at scoring from the 2 but Windemaker was hauled down short of the mark by Blue’s Patrick Karp as the half ended.
That wound up being a crucial play, though White would have other chances.
To open the second half, Blue drove from its own 23 to the White 40. On fourth-and-4, they appeared to have a first down when Thomas threw to Hoyt for 11 yards but a fumble occurred and Brandon Jett recovered for White.
A play later, Windemaker scampered for 26 yards into Blue territory but the ball came loose at the end of the run and Michael Chatman recovered for Bethel.
An 18-yard gallop by O’Neal helped but two lost-yardage plays followed with Jakob Neel making the second stop. Thomas went to the air and Blue got a break when White was called for pass interference.
With the ball at the White 25, Blue needed four plays to find the end zone. Thomas scored from 10-yards out. Ramirez added the extra point and it was 14-6.
An interception ended Bryant White’s subsequent series. Sebastian Dunn got the pick and returned it to the White 20.
A 15-yard run by Hudson set up his 5-yard touchdown tote and, with Ramirez’ PAT, it was 21-6 with 3:23 left in the game.
From their own 24, however, the White Hornets cut into the margin in just two plays. Windemaker found Grant for 37 yards then Hayes hauled in a deep throw down the right seam for the touchdown.
On the conversion attempt, a delay penalty cost White. The try for two was stopped by Chatman and Logan Burton.
BRYANT BLUE 21, BRYANT WHITE 12
Score by quarters
White 6 0 0 6 — 12
Blue 7 0 0 14 — 21
WHITE — Windemaker 30 run (pass failed), 3:14
BLUE — Robinson 42 pass from Thomas (Ramirez kick), 1:30
BLUE — Thomas 10 run (Ramirez kick), 4:48
BLUE — Hudson 5 run (Ramirez kick), 3:23
WHITE — Hayes 39 pass from Windemaker (run failed), 2:40
First downs 8 13
Rushes-yds 12-78 33-180
Passing 7-16-1 3-6-0
Passing yds 218 71
Punts-avg. 1-21.0 0-00.0
Fumbles-lost 3-2 2-2
Penalties-yds 2-10 1-5
Rushing: WHITE, Windemaker 9-77, Salguerio 1-5, Botti 2-(-4); BLUE, Thomas 11-69, O’Neal 11-61, Hudson 11-50.
Passing (C-A-I-Y): WHITE, Windemaker 7-16-1-218; BLUE, Thomas 3-6-0-71.
Receiving: WHITE, Grant 4-118, Hayes 3-100; BLUE, Robinson 1-42, Dunn 1-18, Hoyt 1-11.