BRYANT -- It was prime time for a comeback, but the Bryant Hornets stopped it short.
After staking itself to a 22-point lead in the first half, Bryant had to hold on for a 44-40 victory over the Trinity Christian Tigers from Cedar Hill, Texas, a team led by senior quarterback Shedeur Sanders, a son of Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive back Deion Sanders, who serves as the team's offensive coordinator.
Shedeur Sanders, who has committed to play for Florida Atlantic, completed 18 of 25 passes for 324 yards and 4 touchdowns.
"I'm raising a man," Deion Sanders said. "I'm not trying to raise a football player. I'm trying to raise a man."
Trinity Christian (3-2) rallied to take a 40-38 lead midway through the final quarter, but Bryant (3-0) regained the lead on quarterback Austin Ledbetter's 9-yard run with 4:26 remaining.
Bryant extended its winning streak to 20 games.
Ledbetter's 1-yard sneak with 8:52 left in the first quarter gave Bryant a 7-0 lead.
Trinity Christian responded three plays later with a 77-yard touchdown pass from Sanders to Cam'Ron Silmon, and after a missed extra-point attempt, was within 7-6.
Bryant's lead was 14-6 midway through the first quarter after Ledbetter's 14-yard touchdown pass to senior Hayden Schrader.
A 44-yard touchdown run by senior running back Tanner Anderson gave Bryant a 21-6 lead with 1:22 left in the first quarter.
Ledbetter's screen pass to senior running back Xavier Foote turned into a 54-yard touchdown that gave Bryant a 28-6 lead with 7:15 left before halftime.
"We relaxed a bit," Bryant Coach Buck James said, "but they're a very talented offense. They got a great quarterback, very talented receivers, a big offensive line. You're not going to hold guys down like that every minute of a game. I think our kids grew up a little bit."
"Bryant's players knew where to be," Trinity Christian Coach Andre Hart said. "They're fundamentally sound. They did everything well. I can learn from Coach James and some of the things he did tonight."
On its next possession, Trinity Christian was within 28-12 after Sanders tossed an 18-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Robert Williams.
Late in the second quarter, Trinity Christian turned a Bryant turnover into an 11-yard touchdown pass from Sanders to senior receiver Jordyn Williams to pull within 28-19.
Trinity Christian scored to start the second half on a 34-yard touchdown pass from Sanders to Williams to cut Bryant's lead to 28-25, but Bryant answered with an 80-yard kickoff return by Anderson to start its possession at the Trinity Christian 8.
Three plays later, Ledbetter's 5-yard pass to sophomore Cory Nichols gave Bryant a 35-26 lead midway through the third quarter.
After Bryant stopped Trinity Christian on downs at the Trinity 30, it settled for a 22-yard field goal by senior Brock Funk to lead 38-26 with 2:28 left in the third quarter.
Williams' 2-yard touchdown run pulled Trinity within 38-33 with 10:50 remaining.
"You can't take nothing away from them," James said. "They're going to beat a lot of football teams. They're good."
Deion Sanders played cornerback for the Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins and Baltimore Ravens over 14 seasons. He retired in 2005. He also played nine seasons of baseball with the Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants.
"You can't compare playing the game to coaching the game, but coaching is still very rewarding," Deion Sanders said.