Last Friday didn’t turn out the way the Maumelle Hornets wanted. Vying for the 4A-4 conference championship, the Hornets had to settle for runner-up as they suffered a 47-17 setback to the Booneville Bearcats.
The Hornets (8-2) never led in the game but had chances to get closer to Booneville (10-0). Maumelle trailed at the half, 21-10, and 28-17 after its final touchdown with 4:35 left in the third period. However, the Bearcats scored three unanswered touchdowns for the convincing victory.
“I thought it would be closer than that,” Maumelle Coach Mike Buchan said. “In hindsight, I would do a couple of things different. We made some mistakes that against lesser teams wouldn’t hurt us. We would have containment and stacked on the inside, and they would pitch it out and go 60 yards for a score. It’s the little things that cost you against a good team.”
The Bearcats pounded the football and piled up 419 rushing yards to the Hornets’ 87. Maumelle added 197 passing yards for a total of 284 yards while Booneville didn’t attempt a pass. Hornet quarterback Tyshun Robinson finished with 65 yards on 20 totes and one touchdown. His 197 yards passing were on 11-of-8 attempts. Corry Cullins added the other touchdown and 30 yards on five attempts. Braylon Waits and JB Minix both caught four passes for 69 and 61 yards, respectively, and Cullins had two catches for 65 yards.
Now, it’s time for the Hornets to put the Booneville contest behind them and prepare to host Stuttgart in the first round of the playoffs Friday. Although the Ricebirds (4-6) are the defending state champions, they have lost their last three games. They did secure the fourth seed from the 4A-2 while Maumelle is the second seed.
“Stuttgart is a lot like us just a little bigger,” Buchan said. “It should be a fun matchup. Runner-up (in the conference) was not what we wanted, and we were upset Friday. But, we did better than in the past whereas people weren’t pointing fingers.”
As the Hornets enter the playoff, they have outscored their opponents 315-133. Additionally, Maumelle has gained 1,892 rushing yards to its opponents 1,243 and 1,464 passing yards to its opponents 819. Robinson leads the Hornets in rushing with 704 yards on 138 carries and 12 scores. Cullins has 484 yards on 71 attempts and eight touchdowns while Jessie Hopkins has contributed 424 yards on 81 carries and three scores.
In passing, Robinson is 79-of-144 with 10 interceptions and 12 touchdowns. His favorite target is Minix who has 34 catches for 635 yards and four scores. Waits has 23 receptions for 411 yards and three touchdowns while DaRayun Canada has hit the end zone four times on 11 grabs for 222 yards.