Can anyone stop — or even slow down — the Benton Tigers’ offense?
Admittedly two games is not a big sample size, but so far the answer is an emphatic no.
Benton improved to 2-0 Friday night with a 63-25 victory over District 2-5A’s Alexandria Senior High in Alexandria. The Trojans dropped to 0-2.
Senior quarterback Garrett Hable completed 14 of 25 passes for 245 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Senior running back Jermaine Newton gained 159 yards on 16 carries and scored three rushing TDs. He also had two catches for 38 yards and a touchdown.
“Jermaine had an incredible night,” Benton coach Reynolds Moore said. “He had a 60-yard plus run for a touchdown on the opening series on a play that’s not normally a big-yardage play for us. He housed it. He had a couple of screen passes that went a long way. On a couple of runs we had their ends run upfield trying to stop the pass and Jermaine was just gashing them. He did a great job.”
Junior receiver Legend Denler caught three passes for 105 yards and a TD. Senior receiver Doyle Adams Jr. caught a touchdown pass. He also had a long kickoff return that set up a TD.
“It was almost as complete a game as we could have played,” Moore said.
ASH tried to match Benton’s offensive output early in the game. The Tigers never trailed, but they had leads of 21-12 and 28-18 in the first half.
“We made enough mistakes in the second quarter to last an entire season,” Moore said.
Those mistakes helped ASH, but so did the play of 6-foot-3 receiver Jorien Vallien, who caught three touchdown passes.
“No. 12 can really play,” Moore said. “He’s a stud, being recruited heavily by a lot of people. He’s a heck of an athlete.”
But the Tigers managed to keep ASH’a offense in check the rest of the way. Sam Simmons’ interception led to a touchdown that put Benton up 35-18. It was 49-18 in the third quarter before the Trojans scored their final TD.
“I think we did a good job of rallying and not letting that determine how the game went, making some adjustments,” Moore said of ASH’s early output.
Benton wraps up non-district play Friday at home against Tioga (2-0). The Indians defeated Jonesboro-Hodge 41-6 Friday night.
— Russell Hedges, email@example.com