PIEDMONT –Wren quarterback Kelly Bryant had nearly 400 yards of total offense, accounting for five of the team’s six touchdowns, leading the Hurricanes to a 43-24 victory over Seneca Friday night.
The victory gave Wren a 4-1 record and a 2-0 mark in the Western AAA Region. The Bobcats suffered their first loss of the season dropping to 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the region.
Bryant, who led Abbeville to state AA title game a year ago, threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more scores — both of which were runs of more than 50 yards. For the game Bryant accounted for about 80 percent of the Hurricanes 500 yards of total offense, passing for 174 yards and running for another 224.
“He makes plays you can’t describe,” said Wren coach Jeff Tate. “You think he’s down and then suddenly he gets away and gets a first down or a touchdown. Our guys were able to get him out in the open and it’s pretty obvious he knows what to do with it.”
Nathaniel Ekwere got the Hurricanes on the scoreboard first midway through the opening quarter on a 15-yard run. Trevor Perry added the extra point to give Wren a 7-0 lead.
After holding the Bobcats on defense, Bryant then led another march down the field that ended in the early minutes of the second quarter when Bryant tossed a six-yard touchdown to Bailey Rogers for a 14-0 lead.
Five minutes later, the Bobcats got their first score when Trey Stephens hit Marquis Arnold on a 38-yard scoring pass to cut the lead to 14-7. On the Hurricanes’ next series, the Seneca defense shut Wren down and appeared to have Bryant caught in the backfield, which would have forced a punt. In fact, Seneca coach Wayne Green said his defenders were so convinced Bryant was down that some of them didn’t hit him for fear of getting a “piling on penalty.”
But, one can never be too confident when Bryant has the ball.
The junior quarterback refused to go all the way down and got away from the defense, scampering 57 yards for a touchdown. The Hurricanes got another touchdown before the half and went into intermission with a 29-7 lead.
Certainly from my vantage point, he was down,” Green said. “We actually had other players around him that did not hit him because they were afraid they would get a piling on penalty. We sent the house and they just kind of watched him because it they do anything to him, it’s going to be a penalty. I guess God only knows (if he was down).”
The two teams’ defenses took over in the third quarter with the only score coming on a Seneca field goal. In the fourth quarter, Wren’s scoring drought ended when Bryant threw his third touchdown pass of the game, a 28-yard pass to Harrison Hix midway through the final period.
The Bobcats responded with 14 unanswered points to cut the lead to 36-24.
After Seneca failed to recover the onside kick with less than three minutes to go, Bryant put the outcome of the game to rest, running 65 yards on the first play from scrimmage for the final touchdown.
Tate said his team played better in the first half than the second.
“I thought the first half was a little better than I had anticipated,” he said. “We didn’t have any mental blunders. I thought we played good defense. We only gave up seven points to a team that’s been beating some good football teams.
“In the second half, I thought we were just too inconsistent,” he added.” It looked like we lost our edge, made some mental mistakes. We didn’t finish drives like we did in the first half, That’s concerning but there in the fourth quarter, we kind of got it back together.”
Tate said he is pleased with where his team is at this point.
I’m very happy that we’re 2-0 in the region but we still have a long way to go,” he said. I’m glad that we were able to beat a fine team in Seneca. My hats off to our kids for the job they’ve done.”
The Hurricanes travel to Daniel Friday night in a big Western AAA game. The Lions are 5-0 and have outscored opponents 160-6 in their last three games.