The Benton Tigers ran their record to 6-0 Friday night, pulling away in the second half for a 43-21 District 1-4A victory over the Minden Crimson Tide in Minden.
The Tigers have sole possession of first place in the district at 3-0. Minden, which had a four-game winning streak snapped, dropped to 4-2 and 2-1.
While 6-0 and a No. 3 state ranking looks pretty, Moore told his team after the game that the journey is still just beginning and the Tigers haven’t accomplished anything yet. All their goals are still ahead.
“Honestly, if we lose the next four 6-4 probably gets you in the playoffs,” he said. “But do you want to go in that way? Certainly not when you’re capable of doing more. We set a goal and our goal was to win every game, one at a time, but our goal also was to win the district championship.”
The Tigers flipped the script from their previous two games Friday night. After getting off to slow starts in wins over Bossier and Northwood, Benton got off to a great start against Minden, taking a 16-0 lead.
But the Tide used two long TD passes from Seth Tyler to Decorium Brim to get within two early in the third quarter.
After the team’s traded turnovers, Benton dominated the rest of the game. Garrett Hable hit Doyle Adams Jr. for a 57-yard score and Jermaine Newton went in from two yards out after the Tigers blocked a punt.
Those TDs and the conversions gave the Tigers a 30-14 lead.
Minden didn’t score again until it was 43-14 and it was a defensive TD with Benton’s second-team offense in the game.
“We had a great start and a great finish and in the middle right there just kind of had a little bit of a lull,” Moore said.
Newton and Keldric Moody both rushed for more than 100 yards. Newton had 192 yards on 26 carries and the one TD. Moody had 106 on 13 carries and two TDs.
Hable completed eight of 16 passes for 150 yards. He also rushed for 54 yards on seven carries and scored twice.
Adams caught four passes for 86 yards.
Except for the two big pass plays, Moore was pleased with the play of his defense, which contained Minden speedster Patrick Heard for the most part.
“We found some things that were working pretty well,” he said. “They were having trouble blocking and we did a good job of containing the Heard kid. He didn’t do much tonight. I think he had one decent run. Other than that we did a pretty good job with him.
“I think he’s their best weapon so if we can shut them down we felt like they had to beat us a different way. That was really big to get him slowed down.”
Benton visits North DeSoto on Thursday. The Griffins (4-2, 1-2) defeated Bossier 53-18 Friday night.
— Russell Hedges, firstname.lastname@example.org