By SCOTT ANDERSON, Journal Sports
BENTON — Less than a week after amassing 78 points on 643 yards, Benton relied on 3 yards and a 2-point conversion to beat Captain Shreve, 22-21, Thursday night on Mason-Newman Field at Tiger Stadium.
The Tigers went on an 11-play, 82-yard drive and scored on a 19-yard pass from junior backup quarterback Jeffery King to senior wide receiver Andy Lim with 4:22 left in the game. Senior Landon Duggan was successful on the two-point conversion, a run out of the Wildcat formation over the right side that was the margin in the Tigers’ victory.
“I almost kicked it there because they had played such good defense,” Benton head coach Reynolds Moore said about going for two and the lead. “But I didn’t want to go into overtime. I felt like we could get those three yards. And really, the kids wanted to go for it.”
Shreve’s defense held the high-scoring Benton offense to 14 points in the first half, and the Gators overcame a slow start of their own to take a 21-14 lead into halftime.
“I felt like they played with a lot of confidence, and we didn’t,” Moore said of the first half. “I feel like we came out in the second half and it was lights out.”
The teams opened the game moving up and down the field without a lot of production. The Tigers got on the scoreboard first when junior running back Greg Manning – who scored 8 TDs last week — ran it in from 5 yards out with 2:36 left in the first quarter.
The Gators appeared to answer immediately on the ensuing kickoff with a 99-yard return from Keaton Flowers. But the play was called back on a holding flag.
Instead, the Gators went on a 15-play, 85-yard drive that ended with quarterback Kenyon Terrell running the ball in from 7 yards out. The PAT was blocked, and the Gators trailed, 7-6.
The Gators then held Benton to a three-and-out and forced a punt. But the Gators failed to extend the drive on a fourth-and-4 run.
The Tigers took over but couldn’t convert the first down. Punter Reed Petro came up short on a fake punt attempt on fourth-and-4.
Captain Shreve took over at the Benton 44 yard line. Jamarlon Otis broke free on first down to scamper 44 yards and a touchdown. Terrell was successful on a 2-point conversion, and the Gators led, 14-7.
Benton went on a long drive at the end of the first half. On third-and-10 from the Gators’ 30, quarterback Gray Walters was injured on an incomplete pass. Jeffery King came in on fourth-and-10, and the Tigers tied the game on a 30-yard touchdown pass from King to Pearce Russell with 1:27 left on the half.
The Gators answered quickly, though, as Terrell hit Flowers for a 76-yard touchdown pass on first-and-10 after the kickoff.
Benton’s final drive of the half ended when King’s pass was intercepted by Gators junior safety EJ McDonald.
The Gators held Benton to 251 total yards on offense. Walters’ injury was no doubt a big factor, but the Shreve defense was, too.
As to the injury status of Walters?
“I think it’s something that will heal over time this week,” Moore said. “We certainly want him back. If not, we’ll play with Jeffery (King). There’s not another team in the state that’s got two quarterbacks this good.”
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Benton 22, Captain Shreve 21
Score by quarters
Shreve | 0 | 21 | 0 | 0 | – 21
Benton | 7 | 7 | 0 | 8 | – 22
B – Greg Manning 5 run (Peyton May kick)
CS – Kenyon Terrell 7 run (kick blocked)
CS – Jamarlon Otis 44 run (Terrell run)
B – Pearce Russell 30 pass from Jeffrey King (May kick)
CS – Keaton Flowers 76 pass from Terrell (John Chance kick)
B – Andy Lim 19 pass from King (Landon Duggan run)
Captain Shreve (39-175) – Otis 10-67 1 TD; Jayden Edwards 12-53, Terrell 11-49, Flowers 3-2, Jordan Wiggins 3-19.
Benton (36-129) – Manning 21-79, Duggan 6-26, Walters 4-2, King 1-3, Reed Petro 1-3.
Captain Shreve — Kenyon Terrell 5-14-2, 117 yards, 1 TD.
Benton (14-28-1-122) – King 6-12-1, 79 yards, 2 TDs; Gray Walters 8-16-0, 43 yards.
Captain Shreve – Keaton Flowers 3-83 1 TD, Cam Wilson 1-28, Wiggins 1-8.
Benton – Pearce Russell 8-53 1TD, Lim 3-39 1 TD, Jackson Jones 1-17, King 2-minus-3.