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Benton blanks Jacksonville

BENTON 42, JACKSONVILLE 0

BENTON -- Benton scored five first half touchdowns and never looked back in a 42-0 mercy-rule victory over Jacksonville in the first round off the 6A State playoffs on Friday night.

Benton (7-4) dominated the line of scrimmage from the outset and rushed for 234 yards and passed for 221 more. Benton's Zack Wallace led the way with 13 carries for 86 yards and 2 touchdowns.

"Boy, 42-0 is awesome," Benton head Coach Brad Harris said. "Our defensive guys stepped up and played really well. They played hard, fast and physical and that's what we wanted. We felt like that if we gave them a little bit of room they would have gotten away from us, but our linebacker core did a good job and offensively, I liked what I saw. Our offensive line took control early on and got them down a little bit."

With 7:55 to play in the first quarter, Benton quarterback Gavin Wells kept on a 7-yard touchdown run to complete an 8-play, 40-yard drive for a 7-0 lead. Following a Jacksonville punt that resembled a field goal attempt, Wallace capped a 9-play, 83-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run. A 26-yard completion from Wells to Deanthony Harper set up Wallace's first rushing score of the night and put Benton ahead 14-0 with two minutes let in the first period.

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Jacksonville drove down the field, but fumbled the ball inside the Benton 30. Ten plays later, Wallace scored on a 5-yard run that gave Benton a 21-0 lead.

Later in the second period, DJ Sturgis, who led Benton receivers with 4 catches for 71 yards, caught a 17-yard touchdown pass in the back of the end zone from Wells to make it 28-0.

After another Jacksonville punt, Beau Brewer ran for a 32-yard gain and set himself up for a 6-yard touchdown run with 2:30 to go before halftime to make it 35-0 for Benton.

With the mercy rule in effect for the entire second half, Benton opened the third quarter with Tristian Hutchinson running the kickoff back 83 yards for a touchdown and a 42-0 lead.

"We have West Memphis next and they are the number two out of the east," Harris said. "They have only lost one game all year and that was to Pine Bluff. Pine Bluff put it on them pretty good, but they are Pine Bluff.

"We will have to see what we have got, but I will take us to West Memphis next week and we will give it a shot. We want to be playing the week of Thanksgiving and get another shot at Greenwood, but right now we are going to focus on the task at hand. West Memphis will be a tough test for us."

Benton's defense limited Jacksonville to 162 yards of offense and forced two turnovers. Jacksonville didn't get its initial first down of the game until it trailed 14-0 late in the first quarter. It ends its season 3-8 overall.

Sports on 11/11/2017

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