SALT BOWL XVIII: Hornets look to extend streak

Bryant senior receiver Brandon Murray hauls in a 70-yard touchdown pass in a benefit game with the Pulaski Academy Bruins earlier this fall. GREG DAVIS/Special to The Saline CourierBenton defensive lineman Ty Neathery, 91, and Blake Edwards, 93, bring down a Central Tigers runner in a benefit game. Benton and Bryant will play in Salt Bowl XVIII today at 7 p.m. at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. BLAKE FOGLEMAN/Special to The Saline Courier
Tony Lenahan
Sports Editor

The day is here, even though it's a different day than usual. The Benton Panthers and Bryant Hornets will play in Salt Bowl XVIII tonight, the first time the Salt Bowl has been played on Saturday, with kickoff coming at 7 in Little Rock at War Memorial Stadium.
The Hornets retained bragging rights last season when they edged their Saline County rival Panthers 10-7, despite the fact that Benton outgained Bryant 340-150 in total yardage. Other than a 14-14 tie in 2014, the Hornets have won the last 10 Salt Bowl contests, and are expected to have a great season as Hooten's Football picked Bryant to win the 7A Central and as the second-best 7A team.
Both Benton and Bryant made it the semifinals in their respective state tournament last year, and both teams lost their benefit games two weeks ago with Bryant falling 48-30 to powerhouse Pulaski Academy and Benton losing 45-35 to a much-improved Little Rock Central Tigers team.
But, that was two weeks ago. How has practice gone during Salt Bowl week?
"I don't think we practiced very good the early part of the week," Bryant second-year Head Coach Buck James said. "I thought (Thursday) was a lot better and hopefully (Friday) will be better. I thought we struggled a little bit on Tuesday and Wednesday. The execution and concentration was really good (Thursday)."
The Panthers had a similar beginning to their week.
"We've been upbeat the last couple of days," Benton second-year Head Coach Brad Harris said. "I thought we had good practices the last two days. Monday was alright. Since Tuesday, it's been pretty upbeat. We'll put the final touches on our game plan (Friday).
"It's a little different having it on Saturday. We'll just have to how they handle it being out of school and off on a Saturday, coming up and getting ready to play."
If you can't make it to this year's Salt Bowl, Benton fans can listen to the game on their new station KHLR 106.7 FM "The Ride," while Bryant fans can listen to 93.7 FM/690 AM.
Gates open at 5 p.m., though tailgating will be going on all day, and game-day ticket price is $8. Benton is the home team and fans will be seated on the west sideline (press box), using Gate 7, while Bryant fans will be on the east and Gate 1.