STONEWALL — North DeSoto made a statement on both sides of the football Friday night at Griffin Stadium as the Class 3A Griffins had their way with the Class 4A Benton Tigers 38-0.
The Griffins (4-0) of coach Scott Abernathy powered their way to 235 yards rushing but were also efficient in the passing game. Benton fell to 1-3.
“We try to play hard-nosed football and run it,” Abernathy said. “But, we have some athletes that can run in space so we are able to do some things in the passing game too.”
Aurren Cooksey was Abernathy’s main weapon with 17 carries for 80 yards, including a 1-yard run in the third quarter. That capped a 67-yard drive to open the third quarter and closed the scoring for the evening.
Cooksey had plenty of help thanks to an offensive line that gave him room to run. Abernathy also got 77 yards from Enone Thompson on just nine rushes. Thompson had a 45-yard run that set up an 18-yard field goal by Austin Barnes just before halftime.
Although the Griffins didn’t throw often, quarterback Austin Simmons completed three long tosses for 121 yards, which included a 63-yarder to Damien Boone that set up an 11-yard TD run by Assuntay Cleaver with 6:27 left in the first quarter.
Boone, who went up between two Benton defenders in the end zone, had a 36-yard TD reception from Simmons with 5:09 left in the second quarter that put North DeSoto in command 21-0.
Earlier in the quarter, Simmons hit Jamarcus Williams over his shoulder for a 26-yard scoring play in the left corner of the end zone.
Trailing 21-0, the Tigers were forced to punt.
North DeSoto’s Tomario Lattin let the ball bounce over his head and then turned his back on the oncoming defenders.
Lattin then caught the ball, reversed his field and went 77 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown to give the Griffins a 28-0 cushion with 3:10 left before halftime.
Defensively, the Griffins’ charge was led by linemen Dennis Antwine and Desmond Williams along with middle linebacker Dustin Brossette.
“We got beat by a better team,” Benton coach Caleb Guidry said. “They completely dominated us. They have some athletes and they are well-coached.”
Zach Pierson paced Benton’s effort with 67 yards rushing on 14 carries.