Sports

Bryant Spoils Homecoming at Kessler Field

sports-footballThe football team found a way to spoil the Homecoming celebration on Saturday at Kessler Field. The sun was shining, more than 4,000 fans were tailgating and the 1-6 Bryant team stood across the field. When the final whistle blew, the Bulldogs (2-6, 2-4) had won 27-24.

“We started a little slow,” head coach Kevin Callahan said. “We weren’t playing the way we had in previous weeks.”

“We started way too slow,” senior quarterback Kyle Frazier said. “We can’t do that. There was no intensity out there. We weren’t executing what we had.”

Jordan Brown and Jordan Harris are two of the most explosive players in the Northeast Conference (NEC) and they both brought their A-game to West Long Branch.

Jordan Brown carried the ball 23 times for 152 yards and a pair of touchdowns. His biggest run of the game came with six minutes remaining in the game. Bryant faced a fourth-and-one at their own 45-yard line. Brown received the handoff, cut left and found daylight. Forty-five yards later, he was taken down at the Hawks’ 15-yard line. This led to a missed field goal by Dom Kozlowski, but it had taken a lot of energy out of the Blue and White.

Jordan Harris had five catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns. His first touchdown came late in the first half and his other came halfway through the third quarter. Both touchdowns resulted in 11-point Bulldog leads.

MU’s offense came out flat early and Bryant took advantage. After the Hawks started the game with a three-and-out, Bryant went straight down the field for a touchdown. After dinking and dunking their way into the redzone, Brown took a carry 17 yards into the endzone and the Bulldogs were leading 7-0.

After the Blue and White punted and Bryant missed a field goal, the Hawks were ready to get on the board.

Completions from Frazier to Tyler George and Lamar Davenport, plus a personal foul against the Bulldogs, put MU in position for a field goal. Eric Spillane connected from 29 yards away to cut the deficit to four.

The teams traded punts back and forth through much of the second quarter.

When Bryant took over with 5:48 remaining in the first half, they started a long drive. The Hawks shot themselves in the foot twice due to penalties that enabled the drive to continue.

A pass interference penalty against Reggie Hildebrandt Jr. gave the Bulldogs a first down at MU’s 31-yard line. Less than 20 seconds later, Elijah Phillips was flagged for unnecessary roughness on a sack that resulted in another first down for Bryant.

Jordan Harris ended up scoring a 19-yard touchdown to put his team ahead 14-3 heading into the locker rooms. 

Coach Callahan must have said the right things at halftime. The Hawks came out determined to start the third quarter.

“We picked it up a little bit in the second half,” Callahan said. “We put ourselves in a position where we could win the game and we just didn’t finish it out.”

After forcing a three-and-out, Kyle Frazier led his offense straight down the field for a touchdown.

A completion to Tristan Roberts for 21 yards and a couple of runs by K.B. Asante set the Hawks up with a second-and-goal from the four-yard line. Frazier kept it himself and ran into the endzone to make the score 14-10 Bryant.

The Bulldogs answered right back. Seven plays, 75 yards and 3:30 later, Harris was running into the endzone for a 47-yard catch to put his team back on top by 11, 21-10.

MU scored 14 unanswered points following Harris’ touchdown.

Frazier completed passes to Mike McLafferty and Neal Sterling to set up second-and-three from the Bulldogs’ nine-yard line. Asante took it from there to score and make it a 21-17 game.

Bryant drove deep into the Blue and White’s territory to set up a field goal. Kozlowski missed from 22 yards away and gave the ball back to the Hawks.

The teams traded punts and Frazier took the field, down four, with his offense and 11:38 left on the clock.

Roberts, Eric Sumlin, Sterling and McLafferty all had receptions to get to Bryant’s nine-yard line. Frazier ran it in from there to give the Hawks their first lead of the day, 24-21.

Bryant missed another field goal, which would’ve tied the game, and MU took over with five minutes left in the game.

On their second play of the drive, Frazier’s pass was tipped at the line and intercepted by the Bulldogs.

Brown capped off a 20-yard drive for Bryant with a four-yard touchdown run. Kozlowski missed the extra point and Bryant was ahead 27-24.

The first play of the following drive was a wild one. Frazier was intercepted and the ball appeared to be returned for a touchdown. The defender fumbled at the one, the ball hit the pylon and it was a touchback. The Hawks took over at the 20-yard line.

Frazier was hurt on the second play of the next drive and Craig Peterson came in at quarterback.  

After an incompletion, Peterson needed to make something happen on fourth-and-seven at his own 23-yard line. Pressure came from his right and he rolled away from it. He lofted up a prayer to midfield and Roberts jumped over countless defenders to make the grab for a first down at Bryant’s 47-yard line.

“Craig was just trying to make a play,” Callahan said. “The initial read that he had, the receiver wasn’t open. They did a good job pressuring him. He reversed his field, he tried to buy time, he was rolling out to the left just trying to buy as much time as possible knowing that it’s fourth down. He can’t just get tackled. So he’s going to try and make a play and throw it up and that’s what he did. I thought that Tristan made an exceptional play to go up and catch it and give us new life.”

Frazier came back in after another completion to Roberts for seven yards.

He under-threw two passes to open receivers and faced a fourth-and-three. The Hawks couldn’t pick up a first down.

Bryant won 27-24.

Frazier completed 21 of 38 passes for 195 yards and two interceptions.

Roberts led the team in receiving, grabbing six catches for 76 yards.

Asante carried the load for the Hawks’ rushing attack. He had 14 carries for 89 yards and a touchdown.

“The offensive line gave me good looks,” Asante said.

Frazier ran for 32 yards on eight carries and scored twice.

“We were one game behind Albany,” Callahan said. “We needed to maintain that to have any chance of getting a share of the championship. At two losses, unless a lot of stuff happens, that would be very difficult to do.”

The Hawks travel to Duquesne next week for another NEC matchup.