Turnovers costly to Hornets in semifinal loss to Bears
The “thank you” note from Bearden should arrive any day.
Mineral Springs traveled to the home of the Bears bringing high Hornet hopes for the semi-final playoff game.
Unfortunately, the Hornets also brought gifts – four turnovers resulting in Bearden touchdowns as the Bears defeated Mineral Springs 37-14.
The score was misleading because the game was much closer. Mineral Springs had closed the gap to 22-16 in the third quarter and was playing the Bears evenly until a disastrous fourth quarter.
Bearden scored first after the Hornet defense forced a punt. But the ball bounced off the face mask of the Hornet receiver right into the hands of a charging Bearden player. On the next play, Bearden scored on a 28-yard pass.
The Hornets came back and took the lead on their next possession, marching 73 yards to the score. Scatback Rashad Williams tallied from the 10, and the ensuing two point play had MS up 8-6.
A bad snap on fourth down nearly put the Hornets in danger after a penalty and a quarterback sack helped stall a Hornet drive at midfield. Reaching for the low snap, punter Avante Evans’ knee touched down and Bearden was in business at the Hornet 38. Evans stole a Bear aerial to stall Bearden’s scoring drive for a few minutes.
A fumble and high snap put Bearden at the Hornet 6, and the Bears managed to score after four tries, leaving the halftime score 14-8.
Another fumble and another gift resulted in another Bearden score early in the third quarter. This time the Bears only had to march 37 yards to score with 5:07 remaining in the quarter.
There was no surrender in the Hornets, and they closed the gap to 22-14 with a sterling 84-yard drive featuring a 41-yard pass from QB Kendrick Langston to Evans. Williams scooted the final 15 yards and his score had the Hornet faithful still hoping.
The backbreaker came with less than two minutes remaining when Hornet defensemen apparently had the Bear QB corralled for a loss. Instead, a 33-yard pass connection perched the Bears at the MS 11. From there, they scored in four plays.
Again the Hornets drove downfield, but Langston’s pass with 40 seconds remaining was picked off and returned 70 yards for the final Bearden touchdown.
Mineral Springs closes its season – the first under head coach Nick Evans – with three playoff wins and a third place finish in District 7 2A.
Langston finished the game with 132 yards on 28 carries and he hit five of 13 passes for 107 yards. Williams carried the ball 15 times for 79 yards and had one reception for 30 yards. Jaylon Britt carried the ball once for seven yards. Evans also had one reception for 40 yards and Shavon Velcoff collected two passes for 34 yards. E.J. Stewart also had one reception for three yards.
Senior Derrick Muldrow led the Hornet tackle chart with 16 tackles, including two for losses, followed by Larry Hinton with 12, Kendrick Austin with nine, JuMarcus Lacy with eight and Britt with seven. Evans added three stops and also had an interception.
The Bears rushed the ball 48 times for 152 yards and hit four of nine passes for 78 yards.