Benton coach Reynolds Moore called Friday’s 35-7 District 1-4A victory over Loyola “huge.”
“It’s big to get it at homecoming and it’s big to get it when you’ve lost two in a row and are looking ahead trying to make sure you put yourself in a position to be in the playoffs,” Moore said. “That’s just a huge win.”
The Tigers improved to 3-4 overall and 2-2 in district. Loyola, under first-year-coach Alan Carter, fell to 3-4 and 1-3.
Loyola scored first on an 86-yard pass from Nick Fultz to Sherrod Lewis. But that was about all the Flyers could muster on offense.
Benton held Loyola to 138 total yards with 86 of that coming on the one big play. The Flyers had just 39 yards on the ground.
“We got off to kind of a slow start on offense,” Moore said. “The defense was lights out all night. They were dialed in the whole time. They played with a lot of intensity.”
Moore said one key was that the Tigers pinned the Flyers near their own goalline several times.
Quarterback Jordan Shaffer punted inside the Loyola 5 on a quick kick. Regular punter Jordan White also did a good job, Moore said.
The Loyola defense kept the Tigers offense off-balance early, Moore said.
“We had to make some adjustments,” he said. “Our guys stepped up and made some plays when we needed to. We still didn’t convert in the red zone every time like I’d like to.”
Shaffer had another efficient game, completing 21 of 34 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. He also rushed for 39 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown run.
Shaffer’s TD passes went to Kordy Stewart and Tyler Stephens, both covering 9 yards.
Clayton Festavan led Benton receivers with six catches for 72 yards.
TJ Anderson scored touchdowns on runs of 19 and 8 yards. He finished with 35 yards on six carries.
Gage Carroway led the strong defensive effort with 11 tackles, including five for losses. Chauncey Taylor had six tackles, including two for losses.
Shane Kim had five tackles and forced a fumble. White and CJ McQuarters had interceptions.