Bryant vs. Fayetteville in the playoffs has become almost a guarantee the past several years. Tonight, the two 7A powerhouse teams will battle in Round 2 at Hornet Stadium.
In Week 3 of the regular season, the two tangoed in a blowout win for Bryant as the Hornets rolled to a 42-13 victory.
Despite the early-season success against the Purple Dogs, Bryant Head Coach Buck James is not expecting to battle the same team this time around.
“I don’t expect it to be the same way it was last time,” James said.
“They’ve improved and I expect the game will be a different type. We are excited about the opportunity. We like playing good football teams and competing against he best. That is what we are going to try and do.”
In Week 3, Bryant held senior quarterback Hank Gibbs to 165 yards and no touchdowns on 9 of 21 passing.
On the ground, Fayetteville gained a total of 145 yards on 26 carries.
As for Bryant’s offense the first go-round, junior quarterback Austin Ledbetter completed 10 of 19 attempts for 202 yards and two scores in only a half of action.
On the ground, senior back Ahmad Adams was a stud, trucking for 178 yards and three TDs on 16 carries.
In the game, eight different receivers would catch passes, averaging 19.8 yards per reception.
Defensively, Darrick Rose opened the contest with an interception return for a TD, kickstarting Bryant’s eventual blowout.
“Fayetteville has a new coach and it is always and adjustment getting started,” James said. “They feel good about where they are at and I think they are playing a lot better.”
With a bye week and the No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs, Bryant has had two weeks of practice in preparation for tonight’s contest.
“I think practice has been good,” James said. “We really upped the tempo and have been more physical because we didn’t like the layoff. We have been doing some things that we thought would make us better instead of laying up doing nothing.
“I feel good about what we did and hopefully our kids are going to respond from that.”
Fortunately, Bryant has been healthy all season and comes into Round 2 “healthy as a horse,” according to James.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. in Bryant.