The Benton Tigers are alone at the top of the District 1-4A football standings.
The Tigers’ 25-10 victory over the Loyola Flyers Friday night at Messmer Stadium coupled with Minden’s 23-0 loss to North DeSoto left Benton as the only team in 1-4A without a district loss.
Benton improved to 6-1 overall and 4-0 in district, one game ahead of Minden and North DeSoto. The Tigers defeated North DeSoto earlier this season and host Minden next Friday.
The Tigers got some big plays on special teams and a solid performance from freshman quarterback Garrett Hable against Loyola (1-6, 0-4).
DorSavion Williams returned the opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown.
Leading 19-0, the Tigers kicked off to start the second half. Benton coach Reynolds Moore said kicker Jordan White “kind of missed it.” That proved fortunate as the Tigers recovered the ball and scored on a pass from Hable to Tyler Stephens to go ahead 25-0.
Benton’s other two first-half touchdowns came on a 60-yard run by TJ Anderson and a 2-yard run by Chauncey Taylor.
“In the first half we moved the ball really well,” Moore said.
Hable passed for 205 yards. He struggled a bit in the second half with three interceptions.
Moore said Hable earned a chance to start after coming off the bench last week and rallying the Tigers from a two-touchdown deficit in the final three minutes against Fair Park.
“Here’s the deal,” Moore said “You know when you put a freshman in you’re going to get freshman mistakes, bottom line. I can live with one of them. He made the same mistake twice and we can’t do that. That’s unlike him. Even in 7-on-7 this summer he didn’t do that. If he made a mistake once he’d come back and fix it.
“It’s just a matter of time and him getting some reps. I thought he looked pretty good, running the offense well. I think the kids responded to him. I like what I saw. He’s just got to progress from this week to next week. That’s what I’m looking for.”
The Benton defense continued its outstanding play, limiting the Flyers to just three first downs in the first half and four in the second.
Stephens had a couple of good punt returns but the Tigers failed to capitalize on one at the end of the first half.
— Russell Hedges, firstname.lastname@example.org