Panthers take injuries on the road

Benton senior DJ Stirgus tackles a Greenwood receiver in last week’s 33-17 loss to the Bulldogs in 6A West action. The Panthers will head to Pearcy to take on the Lake Hamilton Wolves tonight. BLAKE FOGLEMAN/Special to The Saline Courier
Tony Lenahan
Staff Writer

The injury bug has reared its ugly had all season long for the Benton Panthers and last week was no exception. The Panthers (5-3, 3-2 West) fell for the second straight game against powerhouse Greenwood at home and also won’t have their starting quarterback, and possibly their starting running back, in tonight’s matchup with the Wolves (4-4, 2-3) in Lake Hamilton.
Sophomore quarterback Peyton Hudgins, who was out the first five weeks with a broken collar bone suffered before the season started, will be out again this week as he is experiencing headaches and possible concussion-like symptoms, not to mention a broken pinky in his non-throwing hand.
“He’s having headaches,” Benton Coach Brad Harris said. “He’s out; hasn’t practiced all week.”
Another possible huge loss would be starting junior running back Zak Wallace, who leads Saline County in rushing yardage and TDs, as he suffered a sprained ankle in last week’s loss.
“Zak Wallace may not play,” Harris said. “He’s going to be a game-time decision. He had a little bit of an ankle sprain against Greenwood and hadn’t gotten any better. He finished the game the other night but has been real stiff all week. He hasn’t look good in practice running on it because of the tenderness. That makes it tough because he’s one of your better play-makers.”
The injuries are nothing new to the Panthers as since the start of fall camp, Benton has had 33 different players with injuries that have missed practice and have had 27 different players miss at least one game due to injury.
“We’re going to have to have somebody else step up,” Harris said. “That’s been our motto all year - next man up - with so many injuries.
“Really, we’re going to have to have several guys step up this week. If (Wallace) can’t go, Beau Brewer will be a guy that will play some running back for us. Beau’s really good, but we just hate it because he plays defense so much, too. We’re going to have to have Antonio Fuller and D’Anthony Harper step up, and some young guys step up and see what they can do.”
Kickoff tonight is 7 p.m. at Wolf Stadium and can be listened to on “The Ride” 106.7.