BRYANT 42, CONWAY 31
CONWAY -- Byrant scored three consecutive touchdowns in the fourth quarter to beat Conway 42-31 in the regular season finale Friday at McConnell Stadium in Conway.
The victory awarded Bryant (9-1, 6-1) the No. 2 seed in the 7A-Central Conference and a bye in the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2015, when the Hornets lost 30-24 to Fayetteville in the second round.
Conway is the N0. 3 seed and will play Rogers (5-5, 2-5), the No. 6 seed from 7A-West. Conway defeated Rogers 35-20 in the first round of the playoffs last season.
Bryant trailed Conway 24-14 at halftime, and Conway (7-3, 5-2) had a 171-143 edge in total offensive yards.
"We just didn't play, that's the truth," Bryant Coach Buck James said. "I told them at halftime that I thought that we could beat them by 14 points, and if we didn't, that first-round playoff game was going to be a JV game. We were going to find someone that wanted to play, and our guys knew I meant it."
Bryant outgained Conway 267-94 during the second half, while the Hornets defense held Conway senior running back Michael George to 8 carries for 57 yards and 1 touchdown.
George was rampant during the first half -- including a 63-yard touchdown run to put Conway ahead 21-7 at the end of the first quarter -- and he finished the game with 27 carries, 189 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Conway finished scoreless in its last four drives.
The Wampus Cats had a final chance to regain the lead, down 35-31 with 2:32 left, but senior quarterback Andrew Hreha was sacked twice to turn the ball over on downs.
Moments later, Bryant senior running back Cameron Vail scored the final touchdown on a nine-yard run.
Vail's touchdown capped off a 76-yard, 2:46 drive that began with the Hornets down 31-28.
Conway led 31-21 with 9:09 left in the game, but could not score another touchdown that may have put the game away.
Conway had resorted to a double reverse to convert a third down at the end of the third quarter, which was instead dropped for a loss and forced the Wampus Cats to punt.
On the drive before, Conway had resorted to a double reverse to convert a third down. Instead, the play was dropped for a loss, forcing a punt.
Meanwhile, Bryant's offense had found its rhythm.
Sophomore quarterback Jake Meaders began the game 0 for 6 passing with an interception, but he finished the game 20 of 31 for 269 yards and 3 touchdown passes to senior receiver Brandon Murray of 24, 14 and 56 yards.
The connections erased a poor start that Conway turned into an early 14-0 lead.
Conway's George had rushes of 10 and 22 yards on the first drive of the game, and then Hreha completed an 11-yard touchdown pass to junior receiver Will McKenna.
Bryant's Meaders was intercepted by Conway's Jackson Freeman on the following possession, which set up a nine-yard touchdown run by George.Gallery: Bryant vs Conway 11/3/17
Sports on 11/04/2017
Print Headline: Bryant finishes season with rally over Conway