Now that the Maumelle Hornets are finished playing 7A state runner-up North Little Rock, they can concentrate on competing against team closer to their size and speed.


Last Friday, the Hornets (0-1) lost to the Charging Wildcats, 55-14. That game finished a two-year deal with North Little Rock. Unlike last year, the Hornets were in this contest until late in the second quarter. With 5:53 remaining in the first half, they only trailed 28-14 after Byron Wade caught a 45-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Xavion Morgan.


“I felt like we were in the game until halfway through the third quarter,” Maumelle Coach Kirk Horton said. “Our players fought hard and weren’t scoreboard watching. Their attitudes were good.”


Horton said some good things came from facing North Little Rock (1-0). For one, no one was injured. Also competing against one of best talented teams in the state helped Maumelle to prepare for anything it will see throughout the season. The Wildcats presented the Hornets with different packages and formations.


The Hornets finished with 37 rushing and 162 passing yards. The actually rushed for 83 yards but also lost 46. Trey Jackson was the leading rusher with 36 yards on 10 carries. Morgan had six totes for 23 yards which included a 1-yard touchdown run. Wade made five catches for 84 yards.


“Their defensive line has three players with Division I offers, and they were sending five to six at a time,” Horton said. “It took us awhile to pick up the speed of the game. Offensively, we settled in the second quarter and did a good job. I knew two years ago it wasn’t a great idea to play them, but we did our best and competed.”


Horton was worried about the offensive line, and it did have its moments but settled in. On defense, he said he was like David vs Goliath. In some spots, the Hornets were giving up 100 pounds to the Wildcats.


Horton did praise the performances of Spencer Simpson, Darius Thompson, Darius Lawrence and Ted Peeples. Simpson was the leading tackler with 14 and four assists while Thompson and Lawrence both finished with seven tackles. Thompson added three assists and one interception, and Lawrence had two assists.


Now that the North Little Rock matchup is over, the Hornets can move on to their next opponent. They travel Friday to Wynne, who is 1-0 and also a 5A team. The Yellowjackets defeated Marion, 24-20, last Friday, and it was the first time since 2003 they have won at Marion. Wynne is 5A state runner-up and last year was the second time in three years it had advanced to the title game. However, they Yellowjackets are getting used to new head coach Van Paschal after former coach Chris Hill left for Harding.


“All the kids took the message well (of moving on to the next game),” Horton said. “Wynne does what it does well, but I expect to win Friday.”