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Bryant cruises to conference win against Cabot

by Adam Cole | October 23, 2021 at 2:51 a.m.

CABOT -- Coming into Friday night's matchup with No. 6 Cabot, the top-ranked Bryant Hornets had not lost to a 7A-Central Conference opponent in more than 1,000 days -- 2 years, 11 months and 27 days, to be exact.

The streak will live to see another week.

Bryant defeated Cabot 45-20 at Panther Stadium.

"I thought we played really good on offense," Bryant Coach Buck James said. "I mean, we really hit on all cylinders."

In total, Bryant (7-1, 5-0) finished with 577 yards of total offense, but more notably, it moved on offense with efficiency. The Hornets ran fewer plays than the Panthers despite out-gaining them by 256 yards.

Bryant racked up a slew of efficient notables in the box score. The Hornets were 6 of 7 on both third down and red zone attempts. It held onto the ball for just under a minute less than Cabot and averaged 4.6 more yards per play. And, of its 61 plays, 30 of them were first downs.

"Offensively, they've got a good gameplan," James said in reference to Cabot. "They execute. They just don't run as well on defense, and that was the mismatch."

The Hornets' offensive attack was notably balanced -- it finished with 299 yards through the air and 278 rushing yards -- but the approach for each element was different. Carson Burnett stared at quarterback for Hornets while a stable of rushers got the job done on the ground.

Seven different players finished with a carry for Bryant and six of them finished with positive net yardage. Chris Gannaway led the way for the Hornets, totaling 73 yards on 12 carries despite leaving the game at halftime with an injury. Sophomore Jaden Ashford had 61 yards and a touchdown, and junior Kam Sams and sophomore James Martin finished with 56 and 54 yards, respectively. Martin also scored one of the Hornets' two rushing touchdowns.

Martin left the game just after Gannaway did in the first half, but returned in the third quarter. James said Martin twisted his knee, but is expected to be fine. The status of Gannaway is waiting to be determined, James said.

Burnett -- who came into the night 20 of his past 25 passes with 362 yards and 7 touchdowns -- continued recent successes by finishing the night 15 of 19 for 299 yards and 4 touchdowns.

"He's done a hell of a job this year," James said. "We were behind the sticks twice tonight and he made great throws, and we had great catches, that ... kept our momentum going."

Burnett's standout target was senior Robert Hendrix, who four passes for 83 yards, averaging 20.75 yards a catch. His first three receptions were all touchdown catches of 6, 21 and 44 yards.

For Cabot, (6-2, 3-2) Friday's loss was one that got away from it quickly. After cutting Bryant's second-quarter lead in half with a Braden Jay touchdown that made the score 14-7, the Hornets ran 4:48 off the clock before Martin's lone touchdown made the score 21-7.

From there, the Panthers wouldn't score again until the first play of the final quarter, and by then, the Hornets had extended their lead to 31 points.

"We got kind of punched," Cabot Coach Scott Reed said. "They got us in space and we were out-matched in some spots. ... We don't seem to make enough explosive plays against a team that runs that way, so we have to do a lot right."

The Panthers had a decent night on the ground, rushing for 207 yards as a team. Evion Jimerson had a team-leading 84 yards on 14 carries. Jay, who was second in receiving yards in the state coming into Friday, finished with 58 total yards and 2 touchdowns.

Print Headline: Hornets' winning streak continues

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