Benton and Northwood kick off the 2023 football season tonight at the Falcons’ Jerry Burton Stadium with a lot of shoes to fill from the last couple of years.
Benton will have a new quarterback in place for the first time in three seasons and Northwood has one for the first time in four seasons. Jeff King will take over for departed Gray Walters at Benton while Hutson Hearron steps in for Mason Welch at Northwood. Both graduated quarterbacks finished their careers among the top passers in each school’s history and in Shreveport-Bossier records as well.
Both schools have numerous other positions that will need to be filled as well. But Benton returns one of the top running backs in north Louisiana, at least, in Greg Manning. He has run for 2,489 yards in two seasons and with another outstanding season could approach the school career record held by Demond Wheatley (3,822 yards).
Desmond Harris returns for the Falcons after a season where he was second on the team with 33 catches for 406 yards and four scores.
Here are capsules for tonight’s games.
BENTON (0-0) at NORTHWOOD (0-0), Jerry Burton Stadium
Series: Benton 20-7-1
Last year: Benton 34-12
Last year’s records: Benton 8-4, 6-1 in 1-5A; Northwood 9-3, 6-1 in 1-4A
Rankings: Benton #8 in SBJ poll; Northwood #7 in SBJ Top 10
Live streamed: Benton (Benton Tiger Sports Network, https://network1sports.com/station/btsn)
Notes: Benton has won six of the last seven meetings of the two schools; Northwood’s last win came in 2018, 28-27 … This is the third consecutive year the schools have opened their season against each other, and the 11th time overall for a season opener … Benton fell to Parkway 16-0 in the jamboree. Northwood defeated Woodlawn 14-8 in the jamboree.
BYRD (0-0) at PLEASANT GROVE, Texas (1-0), Hawk Stadium
Series: Byrd 1-0
Last year: Byrd 34-7
Last year’s records: Byrd 8-4, 4-3 in 1-5A; Pleasant Grove 11-3
Rankings: Byrd #6 in SBJ poll
Radio: Byrd (The Tiger, 1130 AM)
Notes: Byrd lost to Captain Shreve 23-21 in the jamboree … Pleasant Grove won its season opener, defeating Brock 10-7 … The Yellow Jackets won last year’s first meeting of the schools 34-7 as wide receiver Jackson Dufrene scored a rushing and receiving touchdown.
NORTH CADDO (0-0) at BOSSIER (0-0), Memorial Stadium
Series: Bossier 24-5-1
Last year: North Caddo 46-0
Last year’s records: North Caddo 7-4, 3-2 in 1-2A; Bossier 0-10, 0-7 in 1-4A
Radio: North Caddo (KNCB 1320 AM, K104 FM)
Notes: North Caddo has won three of the last four in the series … Bossier defeated Plain Dealing 33-14 in the jamboree … North Caddo defeated BTW 20-6 and lost to Green Oaks 6-0 in the jamboree … The Bearkats are looking to snap an 11-game losing skid.
MANSFIELD (0-0) vs. HUNTINGTON (0-0), Independence Stadium
Series: Huntington 9-7
Last year: Huntington 58-18
Last year’s records: Mansfield 3-8, 3-2 in 3-2A; Huntington 6-5, 5-2 in 1-4A
Rankings: Huntington tied for #8 in SBJ poll
Notes: Huntington defeated Southwood 14-0 in the jamboree … coach Stephen Dennis tries to lead a fourth consecutive winning season for the Raiders, which would be the second-longest streak of winning marks in school history, bettered only by six straight (1982-87).