The 2018 season was a special one for the Bryant Hornets. Bryant was able to win the 7-A state championship. Meanwhile, the Benton Panthers had a strong 2018 season. The Panthers won 10 games and a deep playoff run before falling to eventual state champions Greenwood. Benton wants to accomplish this season what Bryant was able to do last season, and that is finish it off in Little Rock.
The Hornets have experience returning at quarterback with Austin Ledbetter. Ledbetter managed the Hornets passing game well last season, passing for 549 yards and four touchdowns. Ledbetter is an accurate passer and is not afraid to take off and run for a first down. Austin Schroeder will see snaps throughout the season, and he is also a dangerous runner that churn out a big play when needed.
Bryant will lean heavily on Ahmad Adams to take most of the snaps at the running back spot. Adams rushed for over 400 yards and six touchdowns last season and will improve upon those numbers this season. Coach Buck James and the Hornets can keep the opposing defenses off balance by mixing the pass with the run and this game should not be any different.
The Benton Panthers have experience returning at the quarterback position as well. Garrett Brown started six games for the Panthers and displayed a strong arm. Brown passed for 17 touchdowns and just over 2,000 yards. Brown missed spring practice but will be ready for the Salt Bowl.
Coach Brad Harris and the Panthers have an impressive ground attack led by running back D'Anthony Harper. Harper racked up 11 touchdowns to along with almost 850 yards on the ground last season.
Benton does a great job of mixing the run with the pass and the player to keep an eye on at wide receiver is Braxton Slaughter. Slaughter can play both the receiver and tight end positions and his versatility causes problems for the opposing defense. The Panthers have the talent at the skill positions to make this a very close game.
Benton and Bryant have played close games every year and the 2019 version should not be any different. Fans should expect a close contest and I am calling for Benton to upset Bryant 24-21. The Salt Bowl can go either way and this season should not be any different.