Cobras’ Bryant ‘ready to lead’

by Mark Oliver

After seven years of hard work and determination, Hunter “Bug” Bryant can finally check a childhood goal off his list — becoming the starting quarterback for the Fountain Lake Cobras.

“This is an opportunity that I’ve waited for since fourth grade, and I’m ready to lead,” Bryant said. “My dad, John Bryant, made a name for himself playing for Fountain Lake. He was an all-state quarterback. Ever since I started playing peewee football, I’ve been waiting for my opportunity to make a name for myself, too.”

Bryant was selected to this year’s 501 Football Team — 26 players representing all 11 counties of the 501. The team, sponsored by First Service Bank and First Security Bank, boasts the best the 501 has to offer both on and off the field. Bryant was nominated by Fountain Lake head coach Tommy Gilleran.

“Hunter is always willing to lead on and off the field,” Gilleran wrote in his nomination. “He’s always trying to do the right thing in every situation and is always willing to give a hand to anyone who needs it. He is a great kid who wants everyone to succeed, and we expect him to lead us to the playoffs.”  

Fountain Lake finds itself in unfamiliar territory in 2016. Boasting few seniors and returning just three starters, Bryant and the Cobras may find themselves in an uphill battle for a playoff spot in the mighty 7-4A conference.

“I’ve been given an opportunity to lead this team, and I will work as hard as I can to get the job done,” Bryant said. “We have a lot of younger players on the team, and we play a tough schedule. What’s important is that we work hard and get along with one another. Our goal is to win as many games as we can and get to the playoffs. After that, we’ll see.”

On the field, the likeable Bryant shares a close bond with many of his teammates.

“Senior Jared Gunnoe and I have played together since the fourth grade,” Bryant said. “He has good hands and is one of my favorite receivers. Juniors Dillon Horton and Parion Johnson are both very talented. I can throw the ball anywhere and those two will go get it and turn it into a big play for us. Will Roberts, Rory Murphy and Hunter Davis are really good friends, too. I’m proud to play alongside so many talented players.”

One of Bryant’s favorite football memories came when he was called upon to start against Mena last season.

“That game meant everything to me,” Bryant said. “I had been working hard the whole year and I finally got an opportunity to start at quarterback. More importantly, my team supported me and, together, we mercy ruled them. It was a really good experience for me and a great game for our team.”

Off the football field, Bryant plays center field and pitcher for Fountain Lake baseball. In addition to Fountain Lake’s fishing club and Future Farmers of America, the senior is also an avid outdoorsman and can be found hunting and fishing with friends in his free time.

After high school, Bryant plans to pursue coaching or professional bass fishing.

“I’m a good guy and a really hard worker,” Bryant said. “When I set a goal for myself, I work my hardest to achieve it. I don’t give up.”

Fountain Lake opens the season at Pottsville Friday, Sept. 2.