The Bryant Hornets (2-0) have shown why they are the ranked as the top team in the state through their first two games. Winning by a combined 80-14 in those contests, including a 38-0 rout of Bentonville West last week, the Hornets are looking for a clean sweep to end nonconference action.
Today, Bryant travels to Northwest Arkansas for a tango with Fayetteville (1-1). Both teams split last year’s pair of matches with Bryant winning the most important one — a 7A state quarterfinals contest.
The last three meetings between the two, including the 2018 playoffs, have been decided by a total of four points. Bryant is 2-1 in those contests.
“It is a playoff-caliber game for free,” said Head Coach Buck James. “That is how I look at it. It is a chance for us to play a really good football team. The only thing that counts is on our record. We need to know where we are at, what we need to work on and how we will respond to a big game and a big challenge.”
Fayetteville is coming off of a bye week in Week 2. In Week 1, the Purple Dogs fell victim to Owasso, Oklahoma, 51-19.
This year, Fayetteville has shown it is going to throw the ball more often than run, totaling only 17 rushes through two contests.
Former Arkansas Razorback quarterback Casey Dick has the head-coaching duties for the Dogs.
Senior quarterback Hank Gibbs has completed 28 of 51 passing attempts this season, totaling 318 yards and five touchdowns. He also has been picked off three times.
Senior receiver Connor Flannigan is Gibbs’ main target thus far, bringing in 13 catches for 220 yards and two scores.
Like the stat sheet shows, James expects to have to defend a stellar passing attack most of the night.
“I expect them to throw a lot,” James said. “That’s what they have been doing. They’ve got a lot of speed at receiver and they are a wide-open offense. They like to throw the ball way more than they like to run it. They are a big challenge and they are capable of putting up a lot of points.”
James said in preseason that he believes his defense is the best to come through Bryant, including last year’s state championship team. However, despite the recent success, James isn’t looking past Week 3.
“We are only as good as our next game,” James said. “It is good that we played well the past two weeks but it really doesn’t have a lot of merit unless we play well this week. Hopefully, we will understand what it takes to compete at a high level.”
James added that the Hornets are healthy through two games with no injuries plaguing the squad thus far.
Kickoff for tonight’s contest is set for 7 p.m.