Thursday evening, the schedule called for Benton Junior High to play at Conway Blue and Cabot South to play LR Central. But due to Covid concerns at Conway and LR Central, both teams canceled their scheduled games allowing Benton and Cabot South to play in Cabot.
Benton and Cabot South are scheduled to play in week nine (October 29) in a Central Arkansas Junior High Conference game. Thursday’s game gave each school a preview of the other in a non-conference game necessitated by the cancellations by Conway and LR Central.
The 8th Grade Panthers, despite missing last week due to a Covid concern cancellation by North Little Rock, didn’t miss a beat. Just as they did two weeks ago at Lake Hamilton, the explosive 8th Grade offense scored on every possession in a 42-7 trouncing of Cabot South.
On the first play of the game, Elias Payne took a handoff and scampered 55 yards for a 6-0 Benton lead.
Payne scored on another long run (60 yards) on the Panthers’ second possession for a 12-0 lead.
Benton’s third possession brought its third score, again on a one-play drive. Quentin Godley took a quick pass from Maddox Davis 45 yards to the end zone for an 18-0 lead.
Cabot was able to reach the red zone on all three first half drives, but the Benton defense stood strong near the end zone. Following a turnover on downs on Cabot’s first drive, O’Marcus King picked off a pass on the second possession and Owen Seals stripped the football away from a Cabot running back near the goal line on the third.
Seals’ play turned into points for Benton on the final play of the first half when Davis and Godley again connected, this time from 33 yards. King ran in the conversion for a 26-0 Panther lead at halftime.
Cabot dented the scoreboard on their opening possession of the second half on a 62-yard touchdown run and the PAT carved the lead to 26-7.
King continued Benton’s offensive onslaught with a 40-yard run on Benton’s first possession of the second half and option run for the conversion and a 34-7 Panther lead that held through the end of the 3rd quarter.
Sawyer Chandler joined in the touchdown barrage in the fourth quarter when he caught a 23-yard pass from Davis. The two-point conversion moved the score to 42-7 and invoked the mercy rule.
The 8th grade Panthers will put their unblemished 5-0 record on the line next Thursday at home against LR Catholic. Kickoff will be at 5:30.
The Freshman Panthers weren’t as fortunate. Cabot South won a defensive slugfest, 6-0.
The teams played to a draw in the first half before Cabot South scored the game’s lone touchdown with 3:42 in the third quarter on a two-yard run by Logan Eason. Triston Ray and Hayden Purdy stuffed Eason’s two-point try rush.
Cabot’s lone touchdown drive of just 18 yards was set up when the Panthers muffed a punt attempt.
Benton was able to garner just two first downs and a total of 37 yards on 26 snaps.
Defensively, Alvin Allen led Benton with eight tackles, including two tackles-for-loss. Chris Barnard and Jordan Herbner forced Cabot fumbles that Keandre Boson and Jake Burks recovered. Jordan Burr recorded a sack for the Benton defense.
The Benton Freshman are now 3-3 overall, 3-1 in the Central Arkansas Junior High Conference. Benton will welcome LR Catholic to Everett Field next Thursday. The Rockets will come in licking their wounds following a 42-7 loss on Thursday to Bryant.