LITTLE ROCK — It was a frustrating night for the Bryant Blue Hornets eighth grade team of Bethel[more] Middle School on Thursday at Episcopal Collegiate School in Little Rock. The Hornets piled up 326 yards of offense including 197 yards in tandem offense by running back Phillip Isom-Green but had to settle for a 14-14 tie with the Wildcats.
There would’ve been more offense, in fact, had it not been for 10 penalties for 146 yards, all on offense for holding, negating several big gains.
Thus, the frustration.
“We drove up and down the field,” asserted Hornets coach Dale Jones. “That’s a lot of penalties for an eighth-grade game.”
Episcopal scored first when, on the third play of the game, Bryant Blue quarterback Caylin Allen’s pass was tipped, intercepted and returned for a touchdown.
“It was a play-action pass and the tallest kid they had jumped up high, tipped it and caught it,” recounted Jones.
The Bryant defense stopped the 2-point conversion so it was 6-0.
The Hornets responded with a scoring drive of their own, a nine-play, 75-yard march that included a passes from quarterback Desmond Duckworth, back after being out with a concussion, to Jeffery Hastings and to Isom-Green. On the first play of the second quarter, from the 6, Isom-Green carried it in for the score and when Chase Kincaid knocked through the extra point, Bryant Blue had a 7-6 lead.
“We’ve seen some good running backs this season but, after the game, we decided that (Episcopal) had the best one we’ve seen yet,” Jones related. “He was good. He got loose on a 65-yard run off tackle about the second play after we scored.”
This time, the Wildcats added the 2-point conversion on a pass play to make it 14-6.
With time running out in the half, the Hornets put together a drive in response that reached the Episcopal 10. But one of those holding penalties pushed them back and a last-ditch pass into the end zone from Duckworth was too tall for Allen as the half concluded.
To start the second half, the Hornets picked up where they left off, grinding out a 71-yard touchdown drive with Isom-Green carrying the ball on every play up to the touchdown on which he caught a pass, which he turned into a 18-yard touchdown.
“We decided we were going to drive them off the ball,” Jones said. “I was aggravated.
“Phillip played outstanding,” the coach noted. “He had 15 carries for 163 yards and a touchdown (in the game) then he caught that touchdown pass, which was the only pass we threw on that drive.”
Allen rushed for 22 yards on five carries while at quarterback. Duckworth came on and completed 10 of 19 passes for 105 yards including the TD toss to Isom-Green, one of the running back’s two receptions for 34 yards. Hastings caught four receptions for 34 yards. Allen caught two for 16 while Kincaid and Sam Harrison each caught a pass as well.
Now 4-1-1 this season, the Hornets travel to Cabot North with the freshman team this Thursday, Oct. 11.