HONEY GROVE — The Bells Panthers improved to 4-0 with a 48-20 win against Honey Grove in non-district play on Friday night.
Honey Grove (2-2) hung with Bells for most of the first half and were down by only a point at the break before the Panthers pitched a second-half shutout and pulled away with its passing game.
Bryan Ponder was 27-of-34 for 469 yards and seven touchdowns to lead the effort. Hunter Hawthorne had 12 catches for 237 yards and three scores.
The Warriors opened by recovering an onside kick and dove the ball to the 19, where Jacob Caffee ran in for a touchdown.
Bells came back with a score on its next drive with a 33-yard pass from Ponder to Eli Strickland for a touchdown and the game was tied at the end of the first quarter.
Honey Grove jumped back in front with Ben Patrick scoring from the 19-yard line.
Bells answered as it drove to 13 and Strickland caught another TD pass. He finished with five catches for 76 yards.
Honey Grove put together another successful possession all the way to the one-yard line and Trel Pruitt punched it in for the score.
A missed two-point conversion allowed Bells to go ahead when Hawthorne scored on a three-yard TD pass and the Panthers took a 21-20 lead into the break.
The second half belonged to the Panthers as their defense held firm, forcing the Warriors to punt on three of their possessions as well as recovering a fumble.
Ponder had four touchdown passes in the half as Bells widened its lead.
First, he hit Hawthorne for a 58-yard scoring strike. He then found Tyler Hawthorne, who finished with five catches for 78 yards, from the 17-yard line to score again with 1:11 left in the third and a 34-20 lead.
Ponder and Hunter Hawthorne connected on a 62-yard pass and during the next Bells drive and the two hooked up for a six-yard TD to cap the drive early in the fourth quarter.
A Honey Grove fumble gave Bells the ball again and, starting from its 43, added the final touchdown of the game when Nate Stephens caught the 12-yard TD pass.
Caffee led Honey Grove with 90 yards rushing on 24 carries while Pruitt rushed for 84 yards on 14 carries and Devon Fulbright had 46 yards on five carries.
Bells opens District 6-2A (I) play at home this week against Valley View.