Two nightmarish quarters. That comes close to summing up the Benton Tigers’ 54-28 District 1-4A loss to the Woodlawn Knights at Independence Stadium Friday night.
The Tigers held the Knights scoreless in the first and third quarters. But Woodlawn scored four touchdowns in the second and four in the fourth.
Benton dropped to 6-2 overall and saw its hopes for a third straight district championship come to an end. The Tigers visit Northwood (2-6, 1-4) this Friday. The Falcons fell to Minden 39-20 Friday night.
With two wins to close the season, Benton will still be in a good position for a high playoff seed and a first-round home game.
Woodlawn (7-1, 5-0) is tied with Minden (8-0, 5-0) for the district lead. The Knights and the Crimson Tide face off in the final game of the regular season Nov. 4.
Benton got off to a great start, taking a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. But the lead could’ve been bigger. The Tigers had one touchdown called back and also lost a fumble.
Woodlawn answered with two touchdown drives in the second quarter. Then came perhaps the pivotal point of the game.
The Knights scored on a 37-yard pass to go up 21-14. Benton had trouble handling the ensuing kickoff. The ball bounced into the hands of Woodlawn’s Jermichael Mitchell and he took in in the end zone.
“That was a bad chain of events right there,” Benton coach Reynolds Moore said.
The Knights drove 99 yards for their first TD of the second half. Benton twice cut three-touchdown Woodlawn leads to two on TD passes from Garrett Hable to John Westmoreland (70 yards) and Doyle Adams Jr. (7 yards). But the Knights answered both times.
“In the fourth quarter we had to take some chances,” Moore said. “We had to try some onside kicks to get it back and we just put them in good field position.”
Hable completed 18 of 31 passes for 255 yards and three TDs with two interceptions. Westmoreland caught seven passes for 160 yards.
Trivenskey Mosley, one of the area’s top running backs, led Woodlawn with 177 yards and three TDs, including a reception.
“I think he’s better than anybody we’ve seen,” Moore said. “He’s physical. He runs hard. His legs never stop moving. Give them a lot of credit to them for taking advantage of it.”
While giving Woodlawn credit, Moore said the bottom line is the Tigers didn’t play up to their standards.
“We didn’t execute well when we needed to,” he said. “That was probably the worse tackling I’ve seen since I’ve been here. We just didn’t play well. We didn’t do what we’ve been doing.”
The Tigers played without injured defensive line TJ Anderson for the second week in a row.
“Not having him right there on the defensive line is a huge blow to what we do,” Moore said. “We just didn’t make the plays. They’re a good football team. There’s no doubt about it.”
Linebacker Jordan Myles led the Tigers with 13 tackles. Kemone Perry had eight tackles. He also forced a fumble that he recovered for a touchdown.
Moore gives Woodlawn coach Jerwin Wilson credit for changing the mindset at the school.
“The biggest thing for them, and I said this earlier in the week, is that they’ve changed the mindset over there and believe they can win,” he said. “So when they get down 14-0 pretty quick they didn’t quit. They bounced back and made some plays. Credit to them for understanding and recognizing it’s a long football game, 48 minutes, not the first six or eight that count.”
— Russell Hedges, firstname.lastname@example.org