Panthers ready for Hurricane in quarters

Benton sophomore quarterback Garrett Brown loads up to pass in a game earlier this season. Brown leads Saline County in passing yards and touchdowns as the Panthers host the Jonesboro Hurricane in the quarterfinals tonight at 7 at the Benton Athletic Complex. BLAKE FOGLEMAN/Special to The Saline Courier
Sports Editor

After enjoying a bye during the first week of the 6A state playoffs, the West No. 2 seed Benton Panthers get back at it tonight in the quarterfinals at Panther Stadium in Benton. Their opponent, the East No. 3 seed Jonesboro Hurricane, defeated the Lake Hamilton Wolves 47-44 in the first round last week.
Hurricane (7-4) sophomore starting quarterback Cross Jumper had a huge game against the Wolves last week, throwing for 238 yards and three touchdowns, and running for 158 and a TD. For the season, Jumper has thrown for 2,164 yards and 24 TDs vs. 12 interceptions, and ran for 612 and six TDs.
“He’s a good one,” Benton Coach Brad Harris said of Jumper. “He’s not your typical sophomore quarterback; 6-1, 190. A lot of their offense runs through him. He did a really good job against Lake Hamilton. He threw the football well he’s definitely one of their playmakers. With a dual-threat guy, it makes it more difficult for your defense.”
Jonesboro first wants to establish its ground game led by sophomore Albert George, who has run for 682 yards and 10 TDs, including 93 yards and three TDs vs. Lake Hamilton. Junior Dontarius McDonald also ran for 110 yards against the Wolves.
“A lot of their stuff starts with the run game,” Harris said. “They want to get the run game going. A lot of their passing game is off play-action stuff. They’re not just a pure drop-back pass team. They have a couple running backs who do a good job. They have a sophomore who’s a real talented kid and they run the ball tough. They’ve got some guys that if you get them in space, they’re tough to defend.”
The Panthers and Hurricane kick off at 7 p.m. at the Benton Athletic Complex. Listen on The Ride 106.7 FM.
Read the rest in Friday's The Saline Courier.