Hornets edge Bisons 22-21; Bearden Bears await in 2A semi-finals
There was a good omen and a bad omen for the Mineral Springs Hornets before their quarterfinal playoff game at Carlisle, Friday night.
The bad omen: An electrical failure foiled Mineral Springs’ attempt to inflate the giant, golden Hornet ‘run-thru’ for the team’s arrival on the playing field.
The good omen: A pre-game aerial fireworks show had mostly glowing green streamers in its display.
The green aerial fireworks prevailed in the last seconds of the game in which Mineral Springs defeated the Carlisle Bisons by a score of 22-21. The win sends Mineral Springs to a semi-final contest at Bearden this week.
The Bearden Bears finished the regular season behind the top-seed Junction City Dragons in District 8 2A. After beating Foreman, 47-8, in the opening round of the playoffs, the Bears edged out the Gurdon Go-Devils, 18-14, in the second round before dispatching Magnet Cove, 35-7, Friday night.
Kick-off at Bearden is 7 p.m.
An early bad omen in Carlisle was the Hornets’ quick three-and-out and a Bisons punt runback which put the home team on the Hornet 19 after the game was less than two minutes old. It took Carlisle only four plays to score, and the extra-point kick was good, and the score was 7-0.
Mineral Springs answered on the Hornets’ third offensive possession on a seven-yard run by Avante Evans who played a big role in the MS win. A two-point run by quarterback Kendrick Langston was good and the quarter ended 8-7 in favor the Hornets.
Mineral Springs extended the lead midway through the second quarter at the end of a nine-play drive. Langston scooted across the goal-line from 34 yards out and a PAT run by sophomore Keon Hendrix made the score 16-7.
The Bisons came up with a scoring drive of their own capped by a 29-yard TD run. That, with a successful two-point try, left the halftime score 16-15, in favor of Mineral Springs.
The third quarter went scoreless but Carlisle took the lead with only 2:07 remaining in the game. The Hornet defense stopped the two-point PAT try and with only 1:59 remaining the score was 21-16 in favor of the hosts.
The Hornet victory drive began at their own 39, and it rested on the shoulders of junior QB Langston, who reeled off three consecutive running plays, the last one shredding and shedding tackles for 50 yards and a touchdown which left the hometown fans in shock.
A two-point try was no good and Carlisle had 53 seconds to get their reportedly good field goal kicker within range. The Bisons marched down to the Hornet 27, but with only 21 seconds remaining, Evans, who was in one-on-one coverage, stole a Carlisle aerial in the Hornet end zone.
The hardy Hornet fans who had braved a chilled wind from the north celebrated as the team took the ‘victory’ formation and ran out the clock.
Hornet head coach Nick Evans said he is unsure which was the biggest play of the game: the Hornet defense stopping the Bisons’ final two-point try or Avante Evans’ interception with less than 30 seconds left in the game.
“Both were huge,” the coach said.
The Hornets’ normally explosive ground game was somewhat tamed by the Bisons defense. MS managed 212 yards on 44 carries, led by Langston with 25 totes for 160 yards and two TDs. Shavon Velcoff followed with 12 carries for 44 yards and Evans carried three times for eight yards and one TD.
The Hornets only went to the air five times, with Langston completing only one for 10 yards.
Mineral Springs committed no turnovers in the game while the Bisons gave up two interceptions and lost one of two fumbles.
The Hornets were flagged five times for 35 yards while the host team was penalized seven times for 65 yards.
The Bisons collected 236 yards on 45 carries and completed five of 12 passes for 72 yards and one TD. Carlisle’s running game was lead by Justice Bryant with 18 carries for 146 yards and one TD.
The Hornet defense had a huge night with seven defenders registering double-figure tackles. Velcoff led the charge with 20 stops, including one for a loss, followed by Derrick Muldrow with 18, Larry Hinton with 14, Kendrick Austin and Britt with 13 each, and Ju’Marcus Lacy and Francisco Romo each had 11 stops. E.J. Stewart added nine stops and a fumble recovery while Evans also had nine stops, two for losses and two interceptions. Dacariliuss Lucas added eight stops and Tyler Villegas wrapped up the tackle chart with seven stops, a forced fumble and one QB sack.
Friday’s game with Carlisle was won without the service of senior scatback Rashad Williams, who was ejected the week before against Poyen for allegedly fighting. He was not allowed to attend the Carlisle game, not even as a fan.
Coach Evans said a well-rested Williams will be back in action Friday night in Bearden.