“We just kept hammering away, doing what we do and trying to get better at it,” said Mineral Springs Hornet Head Coach David Bennett as his team prepares to enter the state Class 2A playoffs Friday night in Hampton.
The Hornets got off to a rocky start this season, dropping their first five games before picking up a 40-22 win over Dierks. With the exception of a 28-14 loss to Foreman in Week 8, the Hornets won out the remainder of the regular season, including last Thursday night’s 58-0 blowout of the Spring Hill Bears.
“It’s been a learning experience from week to week for our players,” the veteran coach said. “But over the last three or four weeks the team really started to gel and we’ve really played well when we needed to play well.”
The Hornets will enter the playoff bracket as the 7-2A fourth seed.
The Hampton Bulldogs finished the season with a 7-3 overall record and finished third in 8-2A. Their wins have come over Fordyce (14-12), Murfreesboro (46-12), Parkers Chapel (35-12), Strong (33-16), Woodlawn (47-0), Bearden (21-20) and Hermitage (13-0). The Bulldog losses came at the hands of Prescott (30-6), Camden Harmony Grove (53-14) and Rison (46-14).
“I think it will be a good match-up,” Bennett said of the Hornet-Bulldog playoff game. “I know the kids are really looking forward to this Friday night.”
Against the SH Bears, the Hornets amassed 491 yards of offense. Peyton Haddan hit 9/13 passes for 232 yards and four touchdowns while a squad of 10 runners picked up 259 yards and four TDs.
Leading the way for the Hornets was Cameren Lee with two carries for 78 yards and two TDs followed by Tahji Beal with four carries for 31 yards and one TD and Octavion Ceaser with one carry for 27 yards and one TD. Rickey Walker added three carries for 49 yards while Dashawn Compton had two carries for 37 yards and Ladarrius Hicks contributed two carries for 20 yards.
Haddan’s receivers included Raheem Brown with nine catches for 77 yards and two TDs, Devon Swopes with two for 35 yards, Walker with two for 28 yards and one TD and Compton with one for 60 yards and one TD. Beal also pulled in one pass for 32 yards.
The SH Bears were limited to a total of 144 yards with nine via the pass and 135 on the ground on 30 carries.
The Bears finished fifth in 7-2A with a 4-6 record and will travel to the Marked Tree Indians, who finished second in 3-2A.
Bennett said nine freshmen were moved up for last week’s game and will be ready when needed at Hampton.
The 2017 Mineral Springs Hornet roster includes:
Camron Walker, Trelyn Thomas, Rayshawn Sanders, Dashawn Compton, Tahji Beal, Devon Swopes, Rickey Walker, Khalil Williams, Raheem Brown, Ladarrius Hicks, Terrell Fricks (freshman), Octavion Ceaser, Billon Blount, Cameren Lee, Dontre Walton (freshman), K’Anthony Brown (freshman), Peyton Haddan, Muhammad Booth, Jadyn Williams, KeiJuan Hicks (freshman), Josh Jackson, Jackson McCauley (freshman), Peter Alexander, Zalean Hill (freshman), Marquis Johnson (freshman), Ray Hawkins, Donterrius Alexander, Camaron Butler, Clayton Spigner, Jammey Reese, Trevonte Swopes (freshman), Javen Johnson (freshman), Jackson Turley and Gregory Hicks.
Coaches are David Bennett, Roy Backus, Drake Staggs and Brian Strickland.