Benton looks to snap skid on Sr. Night

Benton senior Beau Brewer runs the ball in last week’s 29-20 loss to Lake Hamilton on the road. The Panthers host Sheridan tonight on Senior Night. Festivities start at 6:30 p.m. and kickoff at 7. BLAKE FOGLEMAN/Special to The Saline Courier
Tony Lenahan
Sports Editor

The Benton will be looking to get off the schnide tonight when the Panthers host the Sheridan Yellowjackets on Senior Night at the Benton Athletic Complex. Benton has fallen three straight times starting with a loss at El Dorado in Week 7, losing at home to Greenwood in Week 8, and bitten once again by the Lake Hamilton Wolves on the road last Friday.
But, Sheridan, too, will be looking to break a serious losing streak. The Yellowjackets haven’t won since Week 1 of last year, dropping 18 straight games going into tonight’s matchup with the Panthers, as they sit at 0-9 this season, winless in the 6A West.
“They’ve struggled a lot this year to win a ballgame, being 0-9,” Benton Coach Brad Harris said. “In fact, they lost nine in a row last year, too, so they’re looking for a win. We have to get ourselves right and break our little losing streak that we got going.”
Though the Panthers (5-4, 3-3 West) are picked to win big tonight against the Yellowjackets, Benton isn’t winning in the injury game, losing at least one player to injury every game. For the season, the Panthers have had 28 different players miss at least one game, with that total updated when sophomore receiver Braxton Slaughter went down last week.
“We lost Braxton Slaughter,” Harris said. “He got tackled on an out route and broke his collar bone. It’s not as bad break as Devin Griffin or Peyton Hudgins, but it’s a fracture and they’re thinking four weeks on him. That gets us even thinner on the receiving front. Unfortunately for him because he was starting to come on and make some plays. That’s been our storyline, though.”
Sophomore quarterback Hudgins missed five games to start the season with his broken collar bone and will be out once again today as he missed last week’s loss with concussion-like symptoms.
“Peyton Hudgins is still out with concussion-type symptoms, so we’re going to be thin this week like we’ve been,” Harris said. “Gavin (Wells) will be our quarterback again this week and we’ll go from there.”
Once optimistic that sure-handed junior receiver Peyton Pallette would return this season after a left-elbow injury a few weeks ago, that is no longer the case.
“We think Peyton Pallette is done for the year, too,” Harris said. “He had an X-ray done over the weekend and the bone is not healing like we anticipated. They’re even mentioning if it doesn’t get any better over the next week, he may have to have surgery. We’re not expecting him to come back this year.”
Not only have the injuries been nagging the Panthers, but so has Benton’s running game, and just offense in general. After averaging 42 points per game their first six games in which they went 5-1, the Panthers have averaged just 19 during their three-game losing streak, with the ineffective offense putting the Panther defense in tough spots.
On the ground, the Panthers did better last week gaining 224 yards on the ground after being held under 100 for the first time this season against Greenwood, but junior running back Zak Wallace, Saline County’s leading rusher, was held under 100 for the third straight game.
Kickoff vs. the Yellowjackets will be 7 p.m. and can be heard on “The Ride” 106.7 FM.