Bryant Overcomes Parkview, 20-10, in War Memorial Showdown

Bryant plays Parkview, going against one of their former players.


Aniyah Alexander

Senior wide receiver Jordan Knox runs the ball past the Parkview defense.

Cole Rye, Staff Writer

Fans piled into War Memorial Stadium Friday, September 9th, for a matchup between the 7A Bryant Hornets and 5A Parkview Patriots. 

Bryant pulled away in the third quarter after entering halftime up 14-10. Junior running back James Martin, led the swarm with 144 rushing yards on 14 carries with a touchdown as well. Sophomores Karter Ratliff and Jordan Walker led the passing attack for the Hornets, Ratliff racking up a team best 66 of Walker’s 156 passing yards on 4 receptions. 

The Hornets’ win over Parkview was meaningful, as Friday’s contest presented a unique opportunity for many of the Hornets; the chance to beat an old friend. 

Junior offensive and defensive tackle, Alex Martin, spent his freshman year as a Bryant Hornet. One of the team’s standout players, Martin even got a call-up to the varsity squad as a freshman before transferring to Parkview for his sophomore year. 

Junior Center Matthew Elder was tasked with blocking Martin for much of the game. “He’s really good at football. I had to go against him Friday night, just about every play, and [he’s] still a great football player,” Elder said. 

Martin, along with fellow teammates Isiah McKenzie and Omarion Robinson, are just some of the players that make up Parkview’s defense. It was Robinson’s interception late in the first half that allowed the Patriots to make it a one score game at halftime. 

Not only was Friday’s game a chance for old teammates to catch up with Martin, but his former classmates as well. Junior Easton Benton attended the game, and has maintained a relationship with Martin since his departure from Bryant. “It was awesome,” Benton said of the opportunity to earn some bragging rights over his friend. “Getting to see the fact that we can go out there and beat him and his new team; it was exciting.”

But it wasn’t just old friendships that gave this game a special atmosphere. The bright lights of a large venue such as War Memorial Stadium, formerly home of the Arkansas Razorbacks, created a lot of buzz for the game among students and players.

“It’s always very exciting going to War Memorial,” Elder said. “It’s a cool site, and it’s good to be there. It’s basically our home stadium.” War Memorial feels like a home away from home for the Hornets for good reason. For the past four years, the Hornets have done nothing but dominate their matchups on this field. 

War Memorial Stadium is home to the annual Salt Bowl matchup between the Hornets and rival Benton Panthers, a game Bryant hasn’t lost since 1998. It also hosts Arkansas’ high school football state championships, which Bryant has won for the 7A division the past four years in a row. 

The Hornet’s good performance Friday can be attributed to more than just the players. Bryant’s student section helps create an environment that Bryant dance team manager Isabella Brown believes helps the team in their games.

“I think it helps us get more spirited,” Brown said. “Us being there encourages [the football players]”. 

Through their various chants, posters, and props, the student section attempts to support their football team as well as distract the opposing team.

“We have a chance to single out some players and get in their head a little bit,” Benton said when asked how he believes the student section impacts the games. “I feel like we can definitely make [opposing players] think harder into the game.”

The student section is just one reason for the Hornets’ recent success, winning each of their last 12 games. Bryant will look to continue their win streak on Friday, September 23rd, as the Northside Grizzlies travel to Bryant.