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Wallace, defense keep Benton on 6A-West pace

BENTON -- Zack Wallace broke the game open with touchdown runs of 21 and six yards that gave Benton a 35-13 third-quarter lead, and the Panthers maintained a share of the 6A-South Conference lead by defeating Texarkana 38-19 Friday night.

Wallace led Benton (5-1, 3-0) with 158 yards on 30 carries, and the Panthers' defense intercepted two potential Texarkana touchdown passes in the end zone in the first half.

"Offensively, we were very up and down," Benton Coach Brad Harris said. "We had a couple of really good drives, but near the goal line in the second half, we shot ourselves in the foot."

Benton scored on the opening drive of the game on a 6-yard run from Beau Brewer for a 7-0 lead. Texarkana marched down the field and Sean Foreback scored on a 1-yard run, but the extra point failed and the Panthers led 7-6 with 6:07 left in the first quarter.

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Gavin Wells caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Peyton Huggins with 1:26 left in the opening quarter to put Benton up 14-6. But midway through the second quarter, Foreback threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Drake Browning as Texarkana cut the Benton lead down to 14-13. Benton got a 3-yard scoring run from Huggins with 2:29 left in the first half to go up 21-13.

Twice in the first half, Benton intercepted potential touchdown passes from Texarkana's Foreback. Brewer and DJ Sturgis came up with interceptions for the Panthers' defense, which shut out the Razorbacks for much of the third quarter.

"Defensively, we played as well as we could play," Harris said. "There late in the game, we bowed our necks and stopped them. Texarkana is a good athletic team and they mix things up, so I thought we did a good job adjusting to that."

Wallace scored on a 21-yard run for Benton with 8:04 left in the third quarter to complete a 12-play, 67-yard drive. Wallace added a 6-yard run with 2:19 to go in the third after an 11-play, 77-yard drive to put Benton up 35-13.

Browning caught a 34-yard touchdown pass from Foreback to trim Texarkana's deficit to 35-19, but the Benton defense forced the Razorbacks into three more punts and recovered a fumble.

Benton's last score came on a 23-yard field goal from Taylor Akdamar with 3:34 left in the game.

"We had a couple of interceptions that kept them out of the end zone, but they had a good quarterback, who was very athletic and it was hard to hold him down," Harris said. "I was real pleased with our effort. We got out of it with a win and I was happy about that."

Benton racked up 359 yards of offense to Texarkana's 221 and forced three Razorback turnovers. Benton scored all five times inside the red zone and its defense sacked Foreback four times.

Sports on 10/07/2017

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