The Benton Tigers completed a perfect regular season with a 55-12 rout of the Booker T. Washington Lions on Friday night at Leonard C. Barnes Stadium.
The Tigers will head into the first round of the playoffs 10-0. They finished 7-0 in District 1-4A, their third district title in the last four years. Northwood (8-2, 6-1) was the runner-up.
Playoff pairings will be announced Sunday afternoon.
This is Benton’s first undefeated regular season since the Tigers went 9-0 in 2008. Benton also went 10-0 in 2004 and 1999.
“(This is a) great group of kids,” Benton coach Reynolds Moore said. “They deserve it. They worked for it. It’s kind of fun to see all their hard work paid off.”
Benton has more to accomplish in the coming weeks, but Moore wants his players to savor and enjoy the undefeated regular season.
Moore recalled when the Tigers reached the quarterfinals in 2014 how Mitch Downey, then the Benton principal, told him to do something he failed to do when he was a coach — enjoy the moment.
“And so what I reiterated to our kids tonight was this doesn’t happen a whole bunch, make sure you enjoy it,” Moore said. “Enjoy the heck out of it.”
This is the first time Moore has ever been part of a 10-0 team as a head or assistant coach. Two years ago, Benton went 9-1.
“It’s just special,” he said. “It really is.”
Benton went into Friday’s game a heavy favorite and the Tigers quickly took care of business against BTW (1-9, 1-6).
Benton raced to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and led 41-12 at the half.
“It was kind of a start to finish type deal,” Moore said. “We felt like they had nothing to play for really. They may come out and lay it all on the field. We felt like if we jumped out early we’d be able to stymie that and keep them from getting any momentum and take them out of the game early and we were able to do that pretty quickly. They had a long run and we had to bounce back from that, but our guys kept putting it on. I thought our guys played extremely well.”
Garrett Hable completed nine of 16 passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns, all in the first half. He also rushed for 46 yards and two touchdowns.
Jermaine Newton rushed for 63 yards on six carries and scored a TD in limited action because of the rout.
Doyle Adams Jr. caught four passes for 41 yards and a TD. Legend Denler had a 51-yard TD catch. Hunter Burrough also caught at touchdown pass.
Bubba Osby returned a punt 51 yards for a touchdown.
— Russell Hedges, firstname.lastname@example.org