One regular-season game won’t make or break what has been an outstanding season for the Benton Tigers, but that doesn’t mean the upcoming game against the Woodlawn Knights isn’t a big one.
In fact, it’s a very big one.
After dispatching the Huntington Raiders 63-14 in their final home game Friday night at Tiger Stadium, the Tigers can focus on the defending District 1-4A champion Knights.
Benton (8-0, 5-0) leads Woodlawn (6-2, 4-1) and Northwood (6-2, 4-1) by one game with two to play. The Tigers and Knights face off Friday night at Independence Stadium.
“We’re approaching it that it’s a two-week season right now to get to the postseason,” Benton coach Reynolds Moore said. “We want the district championship. We made no bones about that. I feel like we’ve got a good shot. We’ll put together a game plan. It’ll be one of the most physical games we’ve played all year. I know coach (Jerwin) Wilson will have his team ready and hopefully our guys will be ready, too.”
But Moore is quick to point out that even if Benton beats Woodlawn, the Tigers will likely still need to defeat Booker T. Washington in Week
10 to win the outright title. And if they lose, they’ll need to to beat BTW to earn a share of the title.
“We’re excited about it,” he said “I don’t want to make it too big. There’s no way around it. It’s big for us. It’s big for them. But you still have to take care of Week 10 either way.”
Benton had little trouble with Huntington (3-5, 2-3).
The Tigers led 28-9 at the half and continued to dominate in the second.
After what he considered a lackluster performance in last week’s 34-33 victory over North DeSoto, Moore said he challenged his team to come out and play their best game of the season against Huntington. The Tigers answered the challenge.
“I thought it was a good effort all around,” he said. “We did give up a kick return for a touchdown. That’s disappointing. That’s one of the things we pride ourselves on.
“I don’t think they had more than 150 yards total. We gave them a short field a couple of times. Our guys played well. We executed the passing game, ran the ball well, had a couple of fumble recoveries touchdowns.”
Xavier Perry had both fumble returns for TDs, including one on a kickoff.
Garrett Hable completed 10 of 18 passes for 160 yards and three TDs. He needs 18 yards to reach 8,000 for his career.
Dylan Plunkett had a 46-yard touchdown reception and Legend Denler had a 41-yard TD catch. Denler finished with three receptions for 65 yards.
Jermaine Newton and Keldric Moody scored two touchdowns each. Newton rushed for 94 yards on 14 carries, and Moody had 80 on just five.
Bubba Osby caught three passes for 34 yards and a touchdown.
— Russell Hedges, firstname.lastname@example.org