Saturday, September 08, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Benton has lead as game canceled

Leader sportswriter

Jacksonville battled class 6A Benton in a competitive first half Friday at C.W. Lewis Stadium, but the Panthers went into the half with the lead after a trick play that resulted in a 52-yard touchdown run that put Benton up 28-20. Benton added a score in the third quarter after a special teams error set the Panthers up at the Jacksonville 20. With second remaining in the third quarter, the remainder of the game was called off with Benton leading 34-20.

The Red Devils started strong as the offense found the end zone on its opening drive. It took Jacksonville just seven plays to score after sophomore running back Lamont Gause dashed 28 yards into the end zone on a well-timed option pitch from senior quarterback Aaron Smith.

John Herriman’s extra point gave the Red Devils a quick 7-0 lead. Benton went three-and-out on its first drive after three incomplete passes, but after Jacksonville turned the ball over on downs, the Panthers responded with a 10-play drive capped off by a 28-yard touchdown reception from Boone Cox.

Starting at its own 28-yard line, Jacksonville retook the lead when Gause broke away down the home team sideline 63 yards for another score. Herriman’s extra point put the Red Devils back up 14-7.

However, Jacksonville gave Benton’s offense a gift after the Red Devils failed to convert on another fourth down at their own 34-yard line. An illegal shift penalty backed Benton’s offense up, but on the next play, junior quarterback Tarek Beaugard connected with wideout J.V. Davis for a 44-yard score to tie it up at 14.

The Panthers grabbed their first lead with 2:14 to play in the second quarter after Beaugard hit standout running back Wallace Foote on a screen pass that resulted in a 33-yard touchdown. Jacksonville scored on its next possession on a double pass.

Smith connected with Kevin Richardson on a lateral pass to the sideline, and Richardson found Terrell Moore wide open up field for a 33-yard touchdown. Herriman’s extra point attempt was blocked though with 41 seconds to go in the half.

After Benton returned the ensuing kickoff to its own 47-yard line, the Panthers lined up as if they were going to take a knee to end the half. But on the snap, Beaugard rolled left and snuck the ball into Foote’s stomach, and as the Red Devil defenders chased Beaugard, Foote took off and found the endzone on a 52-yard run after eluding the Jacksonville secondary.