Benton hosts ‘Backs for HC

Benton senior Beau Brewer makes a tackle in a 49-14 win over Siloam Springs last week. BLAKE FOGLEMAN/Special to The Saline Courier
Tony Lenahan
Sports Editor

After winning their fourth consecutive game last Friday 49-14 on the road at Siloam Springs, the Benton Panthers return home tonight for homecoming against the Texarkana Razorbacks. It will be the teams’ 50th all-time meeting and they have played each other every year since 1970.
The Razorbacks (3-2, 1-1 West) hold a 34-15 advantage overall in the series, but the Panthers (4-1, 2-0) have won five in a row by an average score of 49-16, including a 56-7 rout last year in Texarkana. But, this isn’t the same team as last year, as the Razorbacks sit at 3-2, 1-1 in the 6A West, already matching last season’s win total. Texarkana defeated Lake Hamilton 14-9 last week and led powerhouse Greenwood at the half before falling 38-17 two weeks ago.
“They’re a much better team than they were last year,” Benton Coach Brad Harris said. “We’re going to have to play real well to come out of this one with a win. They’re by far the most athletic team we’ve played since Bryant. They’re very solid. They remind us of Little Rock Parkview, as far as their athleticism, aggressiveness and quickness to the ball on defense. It’ll be a really good football game, I think.”
An advantage for Benton vs. Texarkana could be the fact the Panthers will most likely have to concentrate their efforts on just three Razorbacks players. Junior running back Jordan Hall leads the way on the ground with 323 yards and two touchdowns, while junior quarterback Drake Browning is on his heels for 302 yards and two TDs, and has also thrown for 528 yards (31 for 71) and four TDs vs. four interceptions. Between Hall and Browning, the duo has run for 625 of Texarkana’s total 670 yards on the ground. There is no doubt who Browning’s favorite target is as junior Irijah Price has 22 catches for 405 yards and three TDs.
“Most of their offense runs through three guys,” Harris said. “We broke it down and around 85 percent of their offense is between those three guys. When they’re throwing the football, they’re throwing to No. 2, the Price kid. When they’re running it, it’s kind of balanced between the quarterback and the running back.
Homecoming festivities will begin at 6:30 tonight, with kickoff coming at 7 p.m. at Panther Stadium in the Benton Athletic Complex. Listen to the broadcast on ‘The Ride’ 106.7 FM.