The Benton 8th grade Panthers ran their win streak to five in a row with a 30-14 victory over Conway Blue on Thursday evening. The win keeps the 8th grade Panthers undefeated in Central Arkansas Junior High Conference play.
Conway Blue scored the game’s first touchdown and the final touchdown, but in between, Benton ran up 30 unanswered points.
Chris Barnard scored the first two touchdowns for the Panthers on first half runs of 5 and 35 yards. Quarterback Peyton McNeely got in on the scoring action in the third quarter on a 22-yard pass to Colby Howard followed by a one-yard run.
Barnard scored Benton’s final touchdown on a 33-yard run. Khristian Turner converted two two-point plays for Benton and intercepted a pass in the victory.
Thursday’s freshman game wasn’t as kind to Benton as they dropped a 34-14 final to Conway Blue.
Despite two tackles-for-loss by Benton linebacker Jake Jones on Conway’s opening drive, the Wampus Cats were able to cover 68 yards in nine plays for a 7-0 lead.
Following a three-and-out on Benton’s opening possession, Conway scored again when Garrett Sanders plunged into the end zone from two yards.
After another Benton three-and-out, Conway reached the Panther three-yard line. One third and seven, Daniel Lunsford tackled a Wampus Cat for a seven-yard loss. On fourth-and-nine from the Panther 10-yard line, Conway lined up for a field goal, but the snap was muffed. However, Conway’s holder (and quarterback) James Akridge recovered the loose ball, scrambled to his left and found Caden Kristofik open for an improbable touchdown and a 21-0 Conway lead.
Benton’s next possession resulted in a fumble that Conway returned to the Panther 22-yard line. With 55 seconds left in the first half, Noah Koch picked off an Akridge pass and returned it to the Benton 31-yard line.
On the next play, Benton executed a perfect screen pass as Jack Woolbright found Donovan Pearson who raced 69 yards for the score. Lucas Wilbur drilled the extra point for a 21-7 Conway lead at halftime.
The second half started with a bang for Benton as Jamarius Morgan, who’d missed the previous three weeks due to injury, returned the kickoff 78 yards for a touchdown to cut Conway’s lead to 21-14.
The momentum was short-lived. Conway recovered an onside kick and on the first snap of the possession, Kindin Millwood scampered 57 yards to push the Wampus Cat lead to 28-14.
Sanders finished the scoring for Conway on a 31-yard run with 4:34 left in the fourth quarter.
Pearson led the Panthers offensively, accounting for 146 of Benton’s 173 total yards (99 receiving, 47 rushing). Defensively, Trent Drombetta led the Panthers with six tackles while Jones and Jacob Munns chipped in five tackles.
The 8th Grade Panthers (5-1, 5-0) are open next week and will return to action in two weeks at home. The Freshman Panthers (1-5, 1-4) will look to get back on a winning track next week when they travel to Little Rock to play the Catholic Rockets. Kickoff for next week’s Freshman game at Roy Davis Field on the campus of Catholic High School will be at 6:00.