The Maumelle Hornets are 2-0 in the 5A-West Conference for the first time since 2014.
It took a strong second-half effort in the Hornets' conference opener at Greenbrier to give them a kick-start, Coach Kirk Horton said.
"We came out against Greenbrier as shaky as you could possibly be," Horton said. "We threw three picks and gave up an onside kick. But our defense bought in. We knew we were still in the game.
"We came back and ever since that comeback we've been flying high."
Maumelle scored 14 points in the second half against Greenbrier to win 21-18 on Sept. 22, with junior quarterback Xavion Morgan accounting for three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing).
The Hornets never trailed Friday in a 42-7 victory over Vilonia at Bobby Tiner Stadium in Maumelle.
Junior running back Antavius Henderson rushed for 134 yards and 1 touchdown on 10 carries to lead the Hornets.
"It was a coming out party," Horton said of Henderson, who missed Maumelle's first two games because of a hip injury.
Morgan completed 12 of 16 passes for 117 yards with 2 touchdowns.
Defensively, the Hornets forced six turnovers, including five fumbles.
"We had a real good game on both sides of the ball," Horton said.
Maumelle (3-2) lost its first two games to two of the state's top contenders, Class 7A North Little Rock and Class 5A Wynne. North Little Rock routed Maumelle 55-14 while Wynne rolled in a 46-7 victory.
Horton said his experience with the Hornets as an assistant coach over the past two seasons under former coach David Farr helped him with the current players entering the season's first two games, and he said playing North Little Rock and Wynne was beneficial for his team.
"It was going to make us better in the long run," Horton said. "We made it through with no injuries. At the end of the day, we were better because of those games."
Morgan has completed 46 of 70 passes for 7 touchdowns and 5 interceptions this season. He's also rushed for 291 yards and 3 touchdowns on 43 carries.
"He's grown up a lot," Horton said. "He's taken on a leadership role. Last year, he was an athlete playing a position. This year, he's a quarterback that is athletic."
Horton praised Maumelle's receivers: seniors Tyric Robinson (220 receiving yards) and Byron Wade (178 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns) and junior Evan Robinson (188 receiving yards, 6 touchdowns).
"Robinson is a threat anytime he's got the ball in his hands," Horton said. "Wade was our most consistent player on offense last year and he's doing great things this year.
"Evan Robinson, he's a specimen. He passes the eye test. Gets separation from defenders."
The Hornets are one of three undefeated teams in the 5A-West along with Harrison and Alma. But Horton isn't letting the Hornets get too high this week as they prepare for Clarksville (1-4, 0-2)
"Some of these seniors have endured not having wins and not being on a roll," Horton said. "We're not taking anything for granted. We're going to scrap for every inch while we're on this roll."
QB Hill out
Ashdown will be without senior quarterback Jaden Hill on Friday because of a broken clavicle, Panthers Coach Matt Richardson said Wednesday.
Hill was injured on a running play at the start of the second quarter in Friday's 21-7 victory over Bauxite.
Richardson said Hill was meeting with doctors Wednesday to determine the severity of the injury. He said it could be a four-to-eight week injury, but did not know the exact timetable.
Ashdown (5-0, 2-0 7-4A) hosts Malvern (2-3, 1-1) on Friday.
Hill, who has committed to play baseball at LSU, is a three-year starter at quarterback for Ashdown. He's completed 52 of 83 passes for 903 yards with 14 touchdowns and zero interceptions this season.
While Hill is out, Richardson is confident that sophomore Brett Bond can fill the void.
"Great leaders prepare things," Richardson said. "Yes, it's a big loss because of who he is, but he's prepared this offense where we didn't change the offense [for Bond]."
Malvern Coach Mike Scarborough told Richardson this week that he was impressed with Bond's play last week against Bauxite.
"They're both built the same," Richardson recalled Scarborough telling him. "He said, 'Truthfully, we didn't notice when he went in.'"
For the first time since the 2014 season, there will be someone other than Hill starting at quarterback for the Panthers.
"It's been a tough week on me because for 31 straight weeks, I've had the same kid at quarterback," Richardson said. "But our kids haven't shown a glimpse of anything that's going wrong."
Gravette will host Tulsa Cascia Hall, a Class 4A school in Oklahoma, during Zero Week in 2018. The game is scheduled for Aug. 24. ... Mayflower junior running back Deon Simmons has rushed for 1,059 yards and 19 touchdowns on 94 carries, helping lead the Eagles to a 5-0 start overall and a 2-0 2-3A Conference record. Simmons had 273 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns on 26 carries in Mayflower's 54-14 victory at Bald Knob on Friday. ... Texarkana and Benton will meet for the 50th time Friday night, and barring a postseason game between the Razorbacks and Panthers, it will be the last meeting for at least the next two seasons. Texarkana is dropping to Class 5A in 2018. The first meeting was in 1945 and Texarkana holds a 34-15 series advantage. But Benton has won five consecutive games against Texarkana by an average score of 49-16. ... Joe T. Robinson junior defensive lineman Zach Williams recorded 11 tackles, including 8 for a loss, and 4 sacks in the Senators' 21-17 victory over Arkadelphia on Friday. ... Little Rock Christian senior quarterback Jackson Bowersock completed 24 of 40 passes for 476 yards and 5 touchdowns to lead the Warriors past Sylvan Hills 41-35 in overtime Friday. Junior wide receiver Justice Hill caught two of Bowersock's touchdown passes while seniors Ladarius Burnes and Trey Harris, and sophomore Chris Hightower each had a scoring reception. ... Helena-West Helena is 5-0 for the first time since 1983, when it started 6-0. The Cougars travel to Riverview on Friday.
Sports on 10/05/2017
Print Headline: Maumelle coming on strong