Before and after the game, Benton coach Reynolds Moore told his Tigers they needed to keep Friday’s District 1-4A showdown against the Minden Crimson Tide in perspective.
“I told our guys before the game, and I told them after the game — if you win they’re not going to crown you district champs and if you lose they’re not going to crown them district champs,” Moore said. “You’ve gotta play four more tough ones.”
Defending champ Benton fell to Minden 42-28 before a capacity crowd in a battle of unbeatens at The Pit in Minden. The Tigers dropped to 5-1 overall and 2-1 in 1-4A. Benton plays Fair Park (1-5, 1-2) for homecoming this Friday. The Indians picked up their first win of the season 38-22 over Huntington Thursday night.
Minden (6-0, 3-0) is tied for first in the district with Woodlawn (5-1, 3-0), which knocked off North DeSoto 28-7 Friday.
The loss snapped Benton’s 11-game district winning streak. Minden was also the last 1-4A team to defeat the Tigers. The Tide won 25-24 in overtime in 2014. That year Benton wound up sharing the district title with Minden and North DeSoto.
The Tide took advantage of a combination of big plays and Benton mistakes.
“They did a really good job of finding what we were struggling defending,” Moore said. “They executed really well. We didn’t execute offensively early on.”
The game’s biggest play may have come near the end of the first half. With Minden on top 21-14, Benton was deep in Crimson Tide territory. But the Tide’s Kelcy Miller intercepted a pass and returned it to the Benton 1, setting up a touchdown.
Instead of 21-21 at the half, it was 28-14 Minden.
“I took a shot in the end zone and probably should’ve been a little more patient,” Moore said. “It was going to be tied at the half, and then we were down two scores.”
The play came after the Benton defense made a big play with an interception.
The Tigers came out strong in the second half. Quarterback Garrett Hable scored on a 9-yard run to cut the Tide’s led to seven. The defense got a stop and Benton moved into the red zone. But the Tigers turned it over on downs.
“Our guys came back after the first half and fought pretty hard,” Moore said. “We had a pretty good call on fourth down I thought. The linebacker happened to get a hand on the ball right there and they stopped it.”
Minden’s Patrick Heard, son of coach Spencer Heard, went 68 yards for a touchdown on the first play of fourth quarter to make it 35-21. The Tide scored again for a three-touchdown lead before the Tigers added a late touchdown.
Minden quarterback Antonio Rivette ran for two touchdowns and passed for one. Hable scored two rushing touchdowns and hit Doyle Adams Jr. twice for TDs.
According to Minden stats, Hable completed 36 of 51 passes for 315 yards with two interceptions. He also rushed for 58 yards on 14 carries.
Adams had another double-digit receiving night, catching 15 for 98 yards. John Westmoreland caught five passes for 83 yards. Jermaine Newton, Bossier Parish’s leading rusher, gained 44 yards on 14 carries. He also caught four passes for 41 yards.
Benton finished with 424 total yards on 85 plays. Minden had 448 on just 56.
Heard led the Tide with 151 yards on just nine carries. Rivette gained 64 yards on 17 carries. He completed nine of 21 passes for 157 yards, including a 50-yarder to Tavarius Edwards, with three interceptions. Edwards had four catches for 104 yards.
“They just did a really good job of capitalizing on some mistakes we made,” Moore said. “They made some mistakes as well and we made some good plays on defense. But we didn’t convert and make the plays. They made the plays and we didn’t.
“They were a better football team tonight. They’re a really good football team. They don’t need any help and we certainly helped them out. They beat us. They played better than we did tonight.”
— Russell Hedges, email@example.com