Ben­ton 8th dom­i­nates, fresh­men fall

The Saline Courier - - SPORTS - By Jim Gard­ner

Spe­cial to The Saline Courier

NORTH LIT­TLE ROCK – The in­jury bug has bit­ten the Ben­ton fresh­man team this sea­son and with key play­ers miss­ing on both sides of the ball, the Pan­thers dropped a 30-14 game on Thurs­day night at North Lit­tle Rock.

The Charg­ing Wild­cats took a 14-0 lead in the first quar­ter on touch­down runs of 67 and 62 yards.

Ben­ton bounced back mid­way through the first quar­ter when Dono­van Pear­son scored on a 48-yard run. Lu­cas Wil­bur’s ex­tra point cut the first quar­ter score in half at 14-7.

North Lit­tle Rock re­sponded with a bruis­ing 15-play, 74-yard drive, all on the ground. The Ben­ton de­fense stiff­ened in the red zone and forced a 28-yard field goal that gave North Lit­tle Rock a 17-7 lead. The Charg­ing Wild­cats scored again at the 1:28 mark of the sec­ond

quar­ter to take a 24-7 half­time lead.

The lead swelled to 30-7 in the third quar­ter on a 26-yard touch­down run by Roshawn Sim­mons.

Ben­ton’s fi­nal touch­down came with 5:45 re­main­ing in the game when Pear­son hit pay dirt again, this time from 10 yards to fin­ish a 6-play, 53-yard touch­down drive.

Pear­son fin­ished the night by go­ing over 100 yards for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive game (19 car­ries, 131 yards). Jack Wool­bright com­pleted four passes for 43 yards with Abe Rose haul­ing in three passes for 34 yards.

For the Pan­ther de­fense, Jake Jones and Tan­ner Turner led the way with seven tack­les.

Mean­while, the Ben­ton eighth grade shut out North Lit­tle Rock 34-0. An ag­gres­sive Pan­ther de­fense forced five North Lit­tle Rock turnovers in the shutout vic­tory.

Chris Barnard got Ben­ton on the board on the game’s open­ing drive with a 32-yard touch­down run.

On North Lit­tle Rock’s first play from scrimmage, Kean­dre Bo­son re­cov­ered a fum­ble that led to Barnard’s sec­ond touch­down on a run of 8 yards and a 12-0 Pan­ther lead.

North Lit­tle Rock’s first snap on their sec­ond pos­ses­sion also re­sulted in a turnover when De­mar­cus Moore forced a fum­ble that Colby Howard re­cov­ered. Ben­ton quar­ter­back Pey­ton Mc­neely made the Charg­ing Wild­cats pay when he waltzed into the end zone un­touched from 15 yards to give Ben­ton an 18-0 lead

after one quar­ter.

In the open­ing minute of the sec­ond quar­ter, Khris­tian Turner picked off a North Lit­tle Rock pass. On Ben­ton’s en­su­ing drive, Barnard con­verted a fourt­hand-9 with a 29-yard run and fin­ished the drive with a 3-yard touch­down run. Turner ran in the con­ver­sion to push the Pan­ther lead to 26-0.

Mc­neely put Ben­ton’s fi­nal points on the board in the third quar­ter on a 21-yard run and a 2-point play run.

Howard in­ter­cepted a pass and Moore re­cov­ered a fum­ble to com­plete the dom­i­nat­ing de­fen­sive ef­fort by the eighth-grade Pan­thers.

Both Ben­ton Ju­nior High teams re­turn home next week to face Con­way Blue. The eighth grade (4-1, 4-0) will kick off at 5:30 with the fresh­man (1-4, 1-3) to fol­low.

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