The Benton Tigers (3-1, 1-0) held the lead the entire game against the Huntington Raiders (1-3, 0-1) and got off to an excellent start to begin District 1-4A play at Lee Hedges Stadium with a 45-18 thumping.
Tigers QB Garrett Hable threw for 112 yards, three TDs and no picks. He completed 9 of 21 pass attempts.
“He’s done a great job and made some good decisions tonight,” Benton coach Reynolds Moore said. “He’s just a sophomore and he’s getting better each week and is starting to gain confidence in his receivers. Also this is our fourth left guard in four games and they responded well especially the guys playing in new positions for the first time.”
On the first play of the game the Raiders fumbled the snap for the turnover and it seemed to be a sign of things to come for the remainder of the game. Despite flashes of competitiveness by sophomores Craig Davis’s 29-yard score and Larry Moton’s 9-yard dash for the second score, the Raiders couldn’t piece together any drives and were hurt by self-inflicted penalties.
Most of the damage was done in the first half of play by the Tigers, starting with a 3-yard smash into the end zone by defensive tackle Chauncey Taylor after the Raiders fumbled on their 3-yard line. On the next series, Hable hit Ian McEntee for a 9-yard score, putting the Tigers up 14-0 in the first. After another Raiders turnover Hable hit John Westmoreland for a 21-yard strike for the score. He later found Clayton Festavan for a 16-yard TD strike.
The Raiders were out-of-sync all night and couldn’t sustain any drives due to the passing pocket collapsing and a whopping 150 yards on 15 penalty infractions.
“It’s a huge momentum builder because we knew we had a tough game on our hands with coach (Marvin) Harris and his staff who do a good job over there,” Moore said. “We have two tough games coming up and fortunately they’re are at home so we have a little cushion, but it won’t be an easy task and we can’t take anything for granted.”