Saturday, November 11, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> JHS football team no match for BHS

Special to The Leader

BENTON–The Jacksonville Titans traveled to the home of the Benton Panthers Friday night for the opening round of the state 6A football playoffs. The Titans, seeded No. 6 from the East, could not stop the Benton offense or get anything going offensively themselves, and fell 42-0 to the No. 3 West seeded Panthers.

Jacksonville finishes the season 3-8, while Benton improves to 7-4 and moves on to round two of the playoff picture to face West Memphis.

The Panthers scored on every first half possession but the last, and held the Titans to zero points to lead 35-0 at intermission. With the clock running under the sportsmanship rule in the second half, only one more touchdown was scored, and it was the opening kick off, returned by Benton all the way to the end zone.

“You got to tip your hat sometimes,” Jacksonville coach Barry Hickingbotham said. “Benton did a good job preparing. We just stumbled out of the block and got behind quickly, and then it just kind of snowballed on us. We couldn’t get anything going, and if we did, we’d drive for a little bit, and then we’d have a fumble or a penalty. It was just a tough first half. But I’m proud of our seniors. We had great senior leadership this year. The guys laid it out there. We got some great kids, and I’m proud of what they did.”

The Titans had the first possession of the contest, but could only gain four yards before kicking the ball away field goal style.

Benton got the ball on the Jacksonville 40-yard line and converted on a fourth and 10 to help move the 40 yards in nine plays and take the 7-0 lead on a 4-yard touchdown run by quarterback Gavin Wells and the extra point by Breck Rambo.

The Titans started at their own 22-yard line and moved the chains once before kicking again from field goal formation.

The Panthers scored this time after a drive of 83 yards, and on a 5-yard run by Zak Wallace. The lead grew to 14-0 with 2:00 remaining in the first period.

Jacksonville had a 25-yard completion from quarterback HD Martin to Tre Newson in its next possession, but again had to kick the ball away.

Wallace scored his second touchdown, again from five yards out, and the lead was 21-0 with 8:36 to go in the second frame.

The Titans picked up two first downs on their next possession, but then lost the ball by way of fumble.

The Panthers scored twice more before halftime to lead 35-0.

Benton’s Tristian Hutchinson then returned the second half kickoff all the way back for the only other touchdown of the game, setting the final margin.

Jacksonville had a 53-yard completion from Cam Holston to Braylon Mosby to the Panther 3-yard line, but Holston was then intercepted in the end zone with 2:28 on the game clock.