Benton Tigers will go into the Class 4A players on a high note after routing the Huntington Raiders 48-8 Friday night in Benton.
The Tigers finished the regular season 5-5 and 4-3 in District 1-4A under first-year coach Reynolds Moore.
Benton, the No. 23 seed, will visit District 1-4A rival Northwood (9-1), the No. 10 seed, in a Class 4A first-round rematch Friday at Jerry Burton Stadium.
Northwood, the District 1-4A champion, won the first meeting 34-14 in Week 10 but the Tigers led 14-13 in the third quarter.
Moore said the Tigers got off to a bit of a slow start offensively, but it didn’t take them long to get rolling against the Raiders (1-8, 0-7). Benton led 21-0 at the half.
“We got the first touchdown and it kind of started to build after that,” Moore said. “When you get a team that hasn’t won a lot of games it’s easy to start piling it up once you kind of get rolling.”
Senior quarterback Jordan Shaffer didn’t throw for a lot of yards, but he had a very efficient night. He completed 22 of 36 passes for 131 yards and four touchdowns with one interception. He also rushed for a touchdown. Shaffer went to the bench early in the fourth quarter.
TJ Anderson carried 17 times for 95 yards and caught five passes for another 25.
Kordy Stewart had just four catches, but two of those went for touchdowns. Clayton Festavan caught seven passes for 32 yards and a touchdown.
Jaret Gill had a big game with two punt returns that set up touchdowns. He also had four tackles and an interception. Chauncey Taylor had five tackles and a fumble recovery.
Moore said the defense and special teams continually set the Tigers up with a short field.
“Our defense played really well again,” Moore said. “Except for the one long touchdown run they had it was another good performance by our defense. That bodes well for us going into the playoffs.”
Moore praised the play of Cody Ratliff, who played in his first varsity game at cornerback because of an injury.
“Cody Ratliff did a heck of a job,” Moore said. “He stepped up and made some big plays.”