Apple turnovers are good.
Pigskin turnovers, not so good.
Unless, that is, you are the recipient and in that case they can be downright tasty.
Benton fed off a buffet of Minden turnovers Friday night for a 28-15 win that spoiled the Crimson Tide’s homecoming, but in the early going both teams moved the ball well and it appeared the game was going to be a shootout.
“In the first half, everybody answered big play for big play,” said Tigers coach Reynolds Moore. “If they had a big play, we’d answer. If we had a big play, they answered. Our guys put a stop to it in the second half.”
Minden played well but in a game of inches the Tide frequently came up a foot short.
Numerous times, the Crimson Tide seemingly had Benton quarterback Jordan Shaffer sacked for a loss only for him to break free and complete a pass. A couple of other times, a Shaffer pass came within inches of being intercepted by a Minden defender.
Benton’s quickness, particularly on defense, gave Minden’s offensive line trouble all night, especially in pass protection with senior quarterback Turner Francis frequently hurried and sometimes sacked.
The big difference, however, was turnovers.
Benton fumbled three times but lost only one. Shaffer threw one interception from his own 47 that was picked off at the Minden 9, which was as good or better than a punt.
Minden, meanwhile, lost all three of its fumbles and had an interception returned for a touchdown.
Minden was unable to capitalize on Benton’s two turnovers.
Benton, in contrast, turned three first-half Minden turnovers into a 21-15 halftime lead.
A Minden fumble at its own 32 set up Benton’s first score. Then, a few plays after Benton lost its only fumble of the game, Francis threw a pick-six that Jaret Gill returned 55 yards that put Benton up for good 14-9.
Minden then marched down the field on the ensuing pivotal series, only to fumble at the Benton 27. Shaffer then passed the team down the field for a 21-9 halftime lead.
On the night, Shaffer was 21 of 30 for 232 yards with touchdown passes of 8 yards to Tyler Stephens, 34 yards to T.J. Anderson and 43 yards to Kordy Stewart.
Francis had touchdown passes of 67 yards and 10 yards to L’Jarius Sneed. Minden’s top receiver was Mikey James, who hauled in 11 catches for 124 yards.
With the win, Benton moved to 4-4 overall and 3-2 in District 1-4A. Minden dropped to 3-5 overall and 2-3 in District 1-4A.