The Benton Tigers blew open a close game in the second half and went on to defeat the Southwood Cowboys 55-20 in a non-district contest Friday night at Lee Hedges Stadium.
The Tigers improved to 3-0. Benton is averaging exactly 50 points per game.
The Tigers open defense of their District 1-4A championship this Friday at home against Huntington (1-2). The Raiders lost to Parkway 35-0 Friday. Southwood dropped to 1-2.
The score was tied at 20 at the half, but that was a bit deceptive.
Benton had 21 first downs to just two for Southwood. The Cowboys had a 78-yard run that set up a touchdown. They also had a fumble return for a TD.
But Benton coach Reynolds Moore was quick to give the Cowboys and coach Anthony McClain credit for the halftime standoff.
“Southwood played their tails off in the first half,” he said. “We kind of challenged our guys at halftime to step up and respond which is good for us. We haven’t been really hit in the mouth like that and they did. They came ready to play. You could tell they were excited and ready to get after it.”
As was the case in the first two games, several Benton players had big games.
Garrett Hable completed 28 of 43 passes for 266 yards and four touchdowns with one interception. He also rushed eight times for 27 yards and two touchdowns.
“He tried to force some things early on and then settled in and kind of took what they gave him,” Moore said.
All four of Hable’s TD passes went to Doyle Adams Jr., who had 13 receptions for 149 yards. John Westmoreland caught seven passes for 74 yards.
“John did a real good job — and Junior (Adams) and Legend (Denler) — after the catch,” Moore said. “I couldn’t ask for much more from them. I was proud of they way we responded.”
Jermaine Newton rushed for 117 yards on 19 carries.
In the second half, Benton limited to Southwood to one first down.
Sam Simmons returned a fumble 2 yards for a TD early in the third quarter to give Benton the lead for good.
“From the opening kickoff our guys set the tone defensively,” Moore said. “We did a good job except for the one big play (in the first half).”
Linebacker Jordan Myles had six tackles and an interception. Brooks Cram had five tackles, including one for a loss, and made seven of eight extra-point kicks. Kemone Perry had five tackles, including one for a loss.
— Russell Hedges, email@example.com