Friday’s Benton-Northwood game wasn’t quite as wild as some of the other Tigers’ games in District 1-4A this season, but it had plenty of fireworks.
The bottom line, though, is the Tigers came away with a 55-38 home victory. Benton (8-1, 6-0) clinched a share of the district championship for the second straight year. The Tigers can win it outright with a victory over Bossier (3-6, 0-6) Friday night at Bossier.
Last year, in Reynolds Moore’s second year as head coach, Benton shared the district title with North DeSoto and Minden.
“We set our goals on two things,” Moore said. “One, we wanted to go undefeated at home. All three games we lost last year were at home. We wanted to make sure we did a better job of winning at home and protecting our home field. Then we had second one which was to win the district championship outright.”
Sophomore quarterback Garrett Hable accounted for 311 total yards and five touchdowns. He completed 18 of 37 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. He carried the ball six times for 86 yards and three TDs.
Sophomore running back Jermaine Newton also had a big game, rushing for 171 yards on 31 carries. He scored three TDs, including the final two with the Tigers leading just 42-38 in the fourth quarter.
Clayton Festavan caught six passes for 88 yards and two touchdowns.
“We felt like we could move the ball against them,” Moore said. “We just felt like we needed a few stops here and there.”
Benton had trouble putting away the pesky Falcons (3-6, 1-5). The game was still in doubt early in the first quarter with the Tigers holding a 42-38 lead.
The teams combined for five touchdowns in the first quarter with the Falcons leading 19-14.
Benton took the lead for good with a 97-yard drive in the early in the second quarter. The Tigers added another touchdown for a 28-19 lead, but University of Houston commit Marquez Stevenson returned the kickoff for a TD. It was the second week in a row the Tigers have allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown.
Stevenson, a receiver, is one of the top offensive players in 1-4A and he was a thorn in the Tigers’ side most of the night.
“I thought we’d get more stops early on but they did a real good job of getting the ball to 7 (Stevenson) and using him the way they should,” Moore said.
Hable dashed 59 yards for a TD to put the Tigers ahead 35-25 with 7:03 left in the third quarter.
The Falcons again answered, cutting Benton’s lead to 35-31. The Tigers responded with a TD and a 42-31 lead at the end of the third quarter. But Northwood rallied yet again, getting within 42-38.
Newton gave Benton some breathing room with a 11-yard touchdown. The Tigers didn’t have to worry about stopping the Falcons again after recovering the high kickoff. Newton scored from 18 yards out to put the game away.
— Russell Hedges, email@example.com