Panthers open West on road

Benton junior receiver Braxton Slaughter runs after a catch in a 56-41 win over Cabot last Friday in Benton. Slaughter went out with injury in the first quarter, but is expected to play tonight in Russellville. BLAKE FOGLEMAN/Special to The Saline Courier
Sports Editor

After two straight impressive blowout wins over defending 4A champion Arkadelphia (56-17) on the road and a 56-41 win over the ground-and-pound Cabot Panthers at home, the Benton Panthers hit the road tonight to Russellville to take on the Cyclones to open 6A West Conference play.
After many huge wins like last week’s over Cabot, teams may have an emotional hangover the following week during practice. But, Benton Coach Brad Harris said that’s not the case with the Panthers (2-1) this week.
“It’s been good this week with attitude and enthusiasm,” Harris said. “We’ve just battled the extra heat this week. We’ve tried to adjust the practice schedule and stuff like that based on heat, but it is what is. Russellville has to practice in it, too. We’ve been pretty upbeat, had a good attitude and worked pretty good this week.”
The Cyclones (2-1) defeated Morrilton 28-23 in the season-opener and fell 27-7 to Rogers Heritage before shutting out the Alma Airedares 31-0 last week. Russellville went to the air early and often throughout the game as senior Rhett Adkins was 32 of 44 for 311 yards and a TD.
“They’ve thrown the football around a lot,” Harris said. “Last week against Alma, they really threw it quite a bit. I think they were trying to take advantage of some things Alma did defensively giving them some soft coverages and everything. I don’t blame them for throwing it. We’d probably do the same thing.
“We give them a different look so I don’t know game plan-wise if they’ll try to sling it around on us a little bit, but they’ve got an athletic quarterback that can make plays with his feet and his arm. We’re going to have to be very aware of where he’s at all times with the football in his hand.
Benton and Russellville will kick off at 7 p.m. at Cyclone Stadium in Russellville. For those who can’t make it, listen on The Ride 106.7 FM.
Read the rest in Friday's The Saline Courier.