GREENLAND -- Zaylen Bryant got his first career start at tailback Friday, and the speedy Greenland senior took advantage of the opportunity, rushing for 198 yards and six touchdowns in the Pirates' 54-34 romp over Mountain View in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs at Jonathan Ramey Memorial Stadium.
Bryant, normally the team's starting slot receiver, was thrust into the lead role this week after the Pirates' primary tailback, Jett Dennis, was unable to play due to health concerns.
"I really want to thank my linemen, they did an amazing job blocking tonight and opening up holes for me to hit," Bryant said. "It was my first time playing running back and wanted to make it worth it. I just wanted to get the win."
Bryant was actually tackled for a 3-yard loss on his first carry to start the game, but quickly shook off the jitters and ran wild the rest of the night. He scored on runs of 46, 45, 7, 41, 9 and 3 yards.
"Really, it was just about seeing the holes and making my cuts," said Bryant, who also caught three passes for 26 yards, and intercepted a Mountain View pass for the Greenland defense.
He scored three touchdowns before the end of the first quarter, as Greenland (7-4) jumped out to a 21-0 lead.
"Zaylen has a little bit of speed and that was probably the difference in the game right there," Pirate coach Lee Larkan said. "But the kids just came out and played well tonight, and we had a bunch of guys come in and step up for us."
The Greenland defense came up big early, stuffing the Yellowjackets on fourth and short, to take over at the Mountain View 43. They needed just two plays to put the ball in the end zone.
After forcing a Mountain View punt that went for minus-3 yards, the Pirates needed just one play to score again, as Bryant slashed through the Yellowjacket defense for 45 yards.
Pirate quarterback Gabe Wilson balanced the attack with precision through the air, completing 7 of 10 passes for 123 yards, including a 31-yard scoring strike to Carter Gobel to put the Pirates up 34-0 with 4:36 left in the first half.
The Yellowjackets (5-6) finally got on the board with a little razzle-dazzle, as Elijah Carlton completed a halfback-pass to J'Air Jackson for a 69-yard touchdown. But Bryant tacked on another 9-yard touchdown to put Greenland up 40-8 at the half.
Bryant had one carry in the second half, opening up with a 3-yard scoring run before Larkan began to clear his bench and bring in some younger players.
Keegan Ray added 25-yard touchdown run for the Pirates midway through the third period.
"This just motivates us, so hopefully we can get another win next week and keep moving forward, Bryant said.
Greenland will travel 350 miles to play in Osceola in the second round next Friday.
Greenland 54, Mountain View 24
Green – Bryant 46 run (Bush kick) 9:23
Green – Bryant 45 run (Bush kick) 7:55
Green – Bryant 7 run (Bush kick) 1:42
Green – Bryant 41 run (Bush kick) 9:37
Green – Gobel 31 pass from Wilson (kick blocked) 4:54
Mount – Jackson 69 pass from Carlton (Wilson run) 4:36
Green – Bryant 9 run (pass failed) :34
Green – Bryant 3 run (Bush kick) 11:34
Mount – Jackson 62 run (Carlton run) 9:04
Green – Bush 3 run (Bush kick) 5:28
Mount – Ray 5 run (Wilson run) 9:43
• Greenland outgained Mountain View 409-185 in total offense.
• Pirate tailback Jett Dennis, who missed Friday's game, had racked up 1,205 yards and 12 TDs on the ground this season.
• The Greenland defense recorded 11 tackles for lost yardage in the game.
• Greenland will travel to Osceola next Friday night for the second round of the 3A state playoffs. The Seminoles (9-1) won the 3A-3 Conference with a 7-0 record.
Preps Sports on 11/16/2019
Print Headline: Bryant powers Greenland to first-round win