SPRINGDALE – Har-Ber’s season came to a sudden end Friday at home as Bryant advanced to its first-ever state semifinals appearance behind a 23-16 win.
Despite being in control for a majority of the game, Bryant was flagged 18 times for 160 yards and nearly allowed the Wildcats a new life. Following junior Payton Copher’s second touchdown of the fourth quarter, Har-Ber recovered an onside kick with under two minutes to play, trailing by just 7.
But on the first play of the series, Bryant came up with its third interception of the night and sealed the win. Turnovers were a nightmare for Har-Ber in the loss. Bryant forced the aforementioned three picks, recovered three fumbles and held Har-Ber to three turnover on downs.
Copher was the lone bright spot for Har-Ber Friday, finishing with 144 yards rushing on a season-high 30 carries. No other Wildcat totaled more than 11 yards rushing.
Not much about Bryant’s game was flashy, but the Hornets cashed in on Har-Ber turnovers. Bryant coach Buck James says WR Reece Coates’ TD catch late in the second quarter on 3rd and 17 was a game-changer. The score would put the Hornets up 20-2 at halftime. Bryant then held on despite 12 second-half penalties.
Next up for Bryant is a trip to North Little Rock, who defeated Cabot 49-19, for a shot at the school’s first ever state title appearance. Har-Ber’s season comes to a close at 8-3.