BENTON – Despite struggling for his worst game of the season last week in a 35-0 loss to the Wildcats in El Dorado, senior Panther quarterback Tarek Beaugard still has a chance to break the school record of 25 touchdown passes in a season. Earlroy “Nubbin” Wray currently holds the record as Beaugard sits at 21 TDs, failing to throw for one last week and throwing a season-high three interceptions.
Beaugard still has at least two games, the season-finale tonight vs. Pine Bluff and a to-be-determined playoff game, to tie or even break the record. Wray set the record in 1952 in 11 games when Benton went 8-3 on the year.
“That’s fine with me,” Wray said of Beaugard breaking his record. “It’s stood for 61 years. That’s long enough to hold that thing and I wish the young man the best.”
Wray goes on to speak of that playoff loss which could not extend the Panthers’ season in 1952.
“We lost the playoff game that we should have won,” Wray said. “But should’ve and doing are two different things. We lost against Camden.
“We just scored with four minutes left on the game clock to make it 19-18. I kicked back off and they ran it back for a touchdown to beat us 26-19. I’m not making excuses, but me and another man had him pinned down and both of us got clipped (blocked in the back). But, it wasn’t called. That’s the ballgame, that’s the way it goes.”
Wray was a member of the first District 3AA Championship team in the state of Arkansas in 1952. That same team defeated Arkadelphia 69-13 with the 69 points being the highest Benton output ever. Wray also hit 9 of 10 extra points in one game and threw for six TDs in one game, both school records. He also played on the first Benton junior high team.
Wray said he’s a regular at the Panther home games and plans on being at Panther Stadium tonight to see Beaugard attempt to tie, or even break his record, yet Pine Bluff will be a tough team to do it against with a 4-2 conference record.
“Oh yeah, if the good Lord willing and it’s not pouring down rain, I’ll be there to watch him that last one,” Wray said. “I’ve seen him play. I’ve never met the young man, but all I’ve heard about him is he’s a fine young man.”