Braden Bratcher made sure Pulaski Academy didn't suffer consecutive conference losses for the first time in more than two decades.
Bratcher, a senior quarterback, completed 27 of 39 passes for 352 yards and 4 touchdowns, including 3 to senior wide receiver Mason Kolb, in a 41-29 5A-Central victory over Maumelle on Friday night at Joe B. Hatcher Stadium in Little Rock.
Pulaski Academy (4-2, 2-1 5A-Central) was playing for the first time since its 63-game conference winning streak was snapped a week earlier at Little Rock Christian, 63-61, in a rematch of the 2018 Class 5A championship game. The Bruins have not lost consecutive conference games since Weeks 8-9 in 1998.
"It's been a weird vibe," said Kevin Kelley, who has lost only six conference games since becoming Pulaski Academy's coach in 2003. "We're used to losing some nonconference games. We go all over and play some tough teams. Last week, we knew Christian was really good. We knew they were well coached. They beat us this last time.
"But our kids still expected to win, which is what I want as a coach. Then when we lose and you come off that, man, it's a lull around here. It's a depression because it was a loss, and a crosstown rival."
Pulaski Academy led Maumelle 34-6 at halftime, and Bratcher threw his fourth touchdown pass -- a 3-yarder to Kolb --with 9:34 remaining in the third quarter. Senior kicker Clay James added the extra point for a 41-6 lead.
The Hornets (5-1, 2-1) began a late rally when junior quarterback Jonathan Reyes threw an 80-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Zyon Slade with 7:43 remaining in the third quarter. Junior defensive end Jordan Scott returned a fumble 8 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the third quarter, and intercepted a pass to set up another touchdown -- a 17-yard completion from Reyes to senior wide receiver Demetress Williams -- to make it 41-29 with 9:56 remaining in the game.
Pulaski Academy finished with a 546-251 advantage in total yards. Bratcher threw touchdown passes of 9 and 74 yards to Kolb on Pulaski Academy's first two possessions of game, and an 11-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Dylan Allison with 2:24 remaining in the first half.
Sophomore tailback Joseph Himon ran 12 times for 112 yards and a 3-yard touchdown to make it 20-0 with 11:35 remaining in the first half.
Reyes completed 13 of 33 passes for 281 yards and 3 touchdowns. He was intercepted three times, including two by James at cornerback.
Sports on 10/12/2019
Print Headline: PA shakes off rare loss to down Maumelle