Fans came to Tiger Stadium in Benton on Friday night expecting to see a shootout and that’s exactly what they got.
The Tigers outlasted the Northwood Falcons 50-42 in a District 1-4A thriller.
“We’ll take it,” Benton coach Reynolds Moore said. “It doesn’t have to be pretty to count. It’s just got to be a W.”
Benton improved to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in district. Northwood dropped to 3-2 and 1-1.
Benton came into the game averaging 52.25 points. Northwood came in averaging 53.5.
The Falcons got off to a quick start, taking leads of 9-0 and 16-7.
“We got off to about as bad a start as we can get,” Moore said.
After that, though, the Tigers played an exceptionally good stretch of football, outscoring Northwood 26-7 to take a 36-23 lead in the third quarter.
“I just didn’t think our guys were into it from the get-go and kind of had to regroup at halftime,” Moore said. “They didn’t panic; they didn’t get down. They did fix it and come out in the second half and that was big. I’m really proud of them for that.”
Moore thought his team was about to take control with the 13-point lead. But the Falcons didn’t roll over. They tied it with 13 straight points.
“I thought we had found something there too but they just kept fighting back,” He said. “They’ve got three guys that can catch it and run really fast. The quarterback’s good, the running back’s good, the offensive line is good. They make it really tough on you. They’ve got a lot of ways to beat you. I think they’re going to win a lot of football games down the road.”
Benton answered with TD drives of 61 and 80 yards. Jermaine Newton scored both touchdowns on runs of 11 yards and 1 yard.
Garrett Hable completed a pass to Legend Denler for a first down on third-and-12 to keep the final drive alive.
“It was a clutch, clutch throw,” Moore said.
Northwood cut it to eight with 1:55 left, but Benton recovered an onside kick.
Hable threw his first interception of the season early in the game to set up a Falcons score. But otherwise he had another stellar performance.
Hable accounted for 414 yards total offense. He completed 18 of 28 passes for 253 yards. He also rushed eight times for 161 yards, including TD runs of 41 and 70 yards.
“On that first touchdown he made a ride on that thing and he pulled (the ball) as late as he possibly could have and scored,” Moore said. “He did a really good job of reading that. He had some mistakes early on but he ran the ball well. And I think he threw the ball well.”
Newton rushed for 88 yards on 16 carries and scored four TDs.
Bubba Osby caught six passes for 86 yards and a touchdown. Doyle Adams Jr. had five catches for 75 yards.
Northwood quarterback Luke Bogan passed for 368 yards and four TDs, two each to Trayon Jones and LaCedrick Smith.
Benton visits Minden Friday. The Crimson Tide (4-1, 2-0) rallied for a 27-24 victory over Booker T. Washington Friday night.
— Russell Hedges, firstname.lastname@example.org