The Benton Tigers wrapped up the runner-up spot in District 1-4A with a 44-22 victory over the Booker T. Washington Lions on Friday night at Tiger Stadium.
Benton finished the regular season 7-3 overall and 6-1 in district. The Tigers’ lone district loss was 28-27 to undefeated and third-ranked Northwood on Sept. 27 at Northwood. That game ultimately decided the district title for the second straight season.
This marks the fifth straight year Benton has won at least seven regular-season games. The Tigers, who have won seven of their last eight, will take a five-game winning streak into the playoffs.
According to louisianasportsline.com, Benton was No. 16 in the Class 4A power rankings as of early Saturday afternoon. If those rankings are the same as the LHSAA’s official rankings, which will be released Sunday morning, the Tigers will host No. 17 Tioga (7-3) in the first round. Benton defeated Tioga 27-17 on Sept. 14 in Tioga.
Booker T. Washington finished its season 1-9 and 1-6.
Benton got off to a solid start and led 13-0. But the Lions rallied and cut the lead to 13-8 at the half. BTW took a 14-13 lead in the third quarter, scoring on its opening drive. The Tigers regained the lead with a long touchdown pass.
But the Lions answered with a touchdown and led 22-20. Bubba Osby then gave Benton a big spark, returning the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown.
“He picked the ball up at the one, got where he wanted, set up a wedge, hit a crease and did a real good job of staying up in there and our guys did a good job blocking,” Benton coach Reynolds Moore said. “He found that crease and outran everybody.”
The Tigers then turned a turnover into a touchdown, giving themselves a 34-22 cushion with 8:56 to play. Benton then recovered an onside kick and scored again. The Tigers added a field goal with 3:45 left for the final margin.
Moore said a few dropped passes and some turnovers hampered the Tigers offense early.
“That made it kind of tough,” he said.
With the exception of BTW’s early touchdown drive, Moore thought the defense played well. Cole Horton, Sam Simmons and Michael Schoth all had interceptions, giving Benton’s offense short fields to work with.
NOTE: Statistics weren’t available at the time this report was posted. It will be updated when they are.