Big Blue Blowout

Bryant de­mol­ishes crosstown foe

The Saline Courier Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - By Tony Le­na­han

LIT­TLE ROCK — Another Salt Bowl, another Bryant win. The Ben­ton Pan­thers were shell­shocked early on Fri­day at War Memo­rial Sta­dium in Lit­tle Rock as ri­val Bryant Hor­nets jumped to a 21-0 lead on their way to a 42-14 rout over the Pan­thers in front of a crowd of

26,178 at Salt Bowl XX for Bryant’s fifth straight win over Ben­ton dat­ing back to 2014’s 14-14 tie. It gives Bryant a 17-1-2 record in the Salt Bowl.

“It feels good win­ning your first game against your cross-town ri­val,” Bryant Coach Buck James said. “We played pretty well. We didn’t have whole lot of things we left out there on the ta­ble. It’s a tes­ta­ment to our kids and our coaches and how hard they work. They worked hard for this.

“I’m glad for our com­mu­nity and our kids. Our kids have worked re­ally hard. I can’t tell you the amount of hours and the time they’ve put into this. It ain’t some­thing that’s just hap­pened.

They didn’t get here and do this hav­ing easy prac­tices and easy work­outs. These guys were poised and ready. It was a big dif­fer­ence in our foot­ball teams in the way they pre­pared. Our guys were ready to play.”

After the Hor­nets held the Pan­thers (0-1) to a three-and-out in the first se­ries, Bryant got to work as ju­nior quar­ter­back Austin Led­bet­ter hit se­nior re­ceiver Tre’vun Her­ron for a 51-yard gain, and se­nior run­ning back Ah­mad Adams and the of­fen­sive line car­ried the Hor­nets the rest of the way with three runs for 19 yards, the last a 4-yard touch­down for the 7-0 lead with 8:08 left in the first quar­ter.

That would be the first of three straight Adams’ touch­downs on the night as he ran it in from 7 yards on the Hor­nets next se­ries and 1 yard, after another big gain from Her­ron, on the third se­ries to put Bryant up 21-0 with 10:38 left in the sec­ond quar­ter. Adams fin­ished with 13 car­ries for 86 yards and three TDS.

“He’s a man among boys, re­ally,” James said. “He’s a 500-pound squat­ter, he’s a 550pound dead-lifter, 350pound bencher. He runs 4.6. He’s a com­mit to Arkansas State as a linebacker. He’s the real deal. He’s a guy that just don’t get tired.”

It took a bit for the Pan­thers to get go­ing of­fen­sively as they gained just 48 yard their first three se­ries.

“They’re a re­ally good foot­ball team,” Ben­ton Coach Brad Har­ris said of the Hor­nets. “They’re re­ally ag­gres­sive up front and they beat us at the point of at­tack all night. We had an­gles a lot of times and they just beat us off the foot­ball. Our sense of ur­gency was not good. Drag­ging to the line of scrim­mage. I don’t quite un­der­stand that but we got to get that cor­rected and see what we

can get done.

“A re­ally good foot­ball team against a team showed that we weren’t real good (Fri­day). We’ve got to make some cor­rec­tions. That starts with per­son­nel, with us, with scheme, ev­ery­thing.

We’ve got to go back to the draw­ing board and fig­ure out some guys that want to play hard and lay it on the line for their team­mates.”

Ben­ton would get on the board mid­way through the sec­ond quar­ter us­ing a 12-play, 72-yard drive which se­nior D’an­thony Harper capped with a 4-yard TD run for the

21-7 game with 6:29 left un­til half­time and Ben­ton show­ing life.

But, the Hor­nets re­sponded with a 6-play, 91-yard drive capped by a Led­bet­ter to ju­nior Hadyen Schrader 65-yard TD bomb to make it a

28-7 game with 4:22 left. After con­sec­u­tive turnovers on downs and a punt, Bryant went up 35-7 when Led­bet­ter found se­nior Jake Mead­ers for the third time in the se­ries for an 8-yard TD and 35-7 ad­van­tage which held un­til half­time.

Bryant put the ic­ing on the cake in its first se­ries of the sec­ond half us­ing a 7-play, 57-yard drive capped by another Led­bet­ter to Mead­ers TD, this one from 19 yards out for the 42-7 lead with just un­der 10 min­utes re­main­ing in the third quar­ter to in­voke the sports­man­ship rule of be­ing up 35 points in the sec­ond half.

Led­bet­ter fin­ished 15 of 23 for 321 yards and three TDS with­out a turnover.

“He’s a heck of a player,” James said of his QB. “We had sev­eral hit in the hands or face and dropped. What he does is he makes good de­ci­sions and throws the ball on time. He’s a heck of a player and he hasn’t even scratched the sur­face where he’ll end up be­ing.”

The Pan­thers added a score late in the fourth quar­ter when ju­nior Gar­rett Brown hit se­nior Gavin Wells for a 16-yard TD to set the 42-14 fi­nal.

Brown fin­ished 12 of 26 for 99 yards and a TD,

while Wells had six catches for 60 yards and a TD. Harper was the highlight for the Pan­thers, rush­ing 17 times for 95 yards and a TD.

“We’ve got to have D’an­thony do that,”

Har­ris said. “If we’re go­ing to win foot­ball games, D’an­thony Harper has to be a big cog in our wheel that keeps us turn­ing. We need him to step up and be that se­nior leader that we need. I thought he had a solid night. He’s go­ing to play a huge role in our suc­cess.”

Ben­ton se­nior de­fen­sive back Austin Drewry had two late in­ter­cep­tions for the Pan­thers, but the bad news is that se­nior Pey­ton Hud­gins, miss­ing the pre­vi­ous two Salt Bowls and sea­sons to in­jury, and ju­nior de­fen­sive back Trevor Stan­dridge had to leave the game.

“Pey­ton got his head rocked,” Har­ris said. “We kept him out. Don’t know ex­actly what’s go­ing on, prob­a­bly con­cus­sion­type symp­toms. Trevor Stan­dridge didn’t come back at half time from a con­cus­sion so we’ve got a cou­ple guys out pos­si­bly for next week al­ready. It don’t get any eas­ier for us.

“Hope­fully it’s noth­ing se­ri­ous for Pey­ton. The dude’s had a string of bad luck and I want to see him have a great se­nior year. He’s go­ing to be a big piece to the suc­cess we have.”

For Bryant, Her­ron had four catches for 108, Schrader four for 92 and Mead­ers four for 80 and two TDS.

Next week, Bryant is off with a bye, while Ben­ton hosts the Arkadel­phia Badgers, the de­fend­ing 4A champs.

“We’ve got some work to do, but we’re not giv­ing up on them,” Har­ris said of his Pan­thers. “It’s a long sea­son and we’ve got to get ready for a good Arkadel­phia team next week at home. We can’t feel sorry for our­selves. Got to get ready to go.”

GREG Davis/spe­cial to The Saline Courier

Mem­bers of the Bryant Hor­nets foot­ball team cel­e­brate as they pose with the Salt Bowl tro­phy Fri­day at War Memo­rial Sta­dium in Lit­tle Rock fol­low­ing a 42-14 win over arch ri­val Ben­ton.

GREG DAVIS/ Spe­cial to The Saline Courier

Bryant se­nior run­ning back Ah­mad Adams runs dur­ing the Hor­nets blowout win Fri­day in Salt Bowl XX.

GREG Davis/spe­cial to The Saline Courier

Ben­ton ju­nior quar­ter­back Gar­rett Brown re­leases a pass dur­ing the 42-14 loss to Bryant. Brown fin­ished 12 for 26 for 99 yards and a score in the game.

GREG Davis/spe­cial to The Saline Courier

A pair of Ben­ton Pan­thers break up a pass at­tempt while mak­ing a play against Bryant se­nior re­ceiver Jake Mead­ers on Fri­day in Salt Bowl XX at War Memo­rial Sta­dium.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.