BRYANT – The Benton Panthers did something to the Bryant Hornets they haven’t done in 10 years. The Panthers beat the Hornets 2-1 on Friday in Bryant, which was the first victory for the Panthers over the Hornets (13-2-1, 7-1 South) since 2004.
“It was a huge win,” Benton Coach Bobby Winn said. “Our seniors led the way with the game plan and everybody that played, played with every ounce of energy in their heart and pulled off a great victory they’ve been trying to get for years.”
Junior Panther David Powery broke the nothing-nothing score with a penalty kick for the first goal 10 minutes into the game. Bryant junior Bryce Denker would tie it with a penalty kick of his own at the 30-minute mark and the teams would go into the half tied 1-1.
“I thought we came out pretty flat,” Bryant Coach Jason Hay said. “Benton was ready to play and it didn’t look like we were ready to start. As the game went on, especially in the second half, we had our chances. We just didn’t finish.”
Senior Daniel Ramirez would put the Panthers (8-1-1, 7-1 South) on top with the winning goal assisted by Powery 12 minutes into the second half. After getting the 2-1 lead, Benton got extra stingy defensively.
“Benton kind of bunkered in,” Hay said. “We had several chances, we just didn’t finish.
“Benton played well and they deserve some credit. They took it to us, but I wasn’t real happy with our first-half performance.”
Junior goalkeeper Craig Griffin netted six saves on the day and came up big in the rivalry game.
“He came up huge with the best game of his career,” Winn said. “We played outstanding defensively. We stuck to our game plan.”
The Lady Hornets (13-1-1, 6-0 South) defeated the Lady Panthers (2-10, 0-6) 7-0 on Friday, while the Bryant junior varsity boys defeated Benton’s JV boys 3-0.