Benton Academy’s losing streak was broken on Friday night when they defeated Central Holmes Christian School 21-14.
The win brought the Raiders’ season record to 1-3 on the year.
According to Benton Academy head football coach Kenny Burton, the win was crucial for an inexperienced team that had been fighting for one all season.
“The kids played well,” Burton said. “They needed that win. I was proud of them. It was a much needed win.”
The Raiders struck first in the defensive battle of a first half with a Harris Dooley pass to Ethan Ingram on a slant route that gave them a 6-0 lead after missing the PAT.
Before the half, however, Central Holmes scored a touchdown of their own, and after they too missed a PAT, the game was tied at 6-6 at the half.
Early in the second half, the Trojans took a 14-6 lead after scoring a touchdown and completing the 2-point conversion.
But the Raiders would not give up. They drove all the way down to the 20 yard line, where Dooley connected with Ingram again on a fade route for the score.
After a Cody Prescott 2-point conversion, the score was tied at 14-14.
Late in the fourth quarter, Benton drove down and found themselves in position to take the lead.
Ingram was called upon to run another slant, and Dolley connected with him for a touchdown for the third time of the game, giving them a 21-14 lead.
With little time left, the Raiders’ defense made the necessary stops and sealed the deal, giving them a 21-14 win, their first of the year.
To Burton, one of the biggest differences in this game and previous ones was the level of competition, though that does not mean he thinks they are a completed project.
“We were a little bit more evenly matched in the game on Friday,” Burton said. “We played well at times. We still missed some blocks. We can’t miss those blocks, but I was still proud of them.”
The other major difference for the Raiders is that schematically they were much more sound on the defensive end.
“I’ll tell you something else about this game, we were in the right spots defensively,” Burton said. “We were continuously in the wrong spots in those first three games. That was one of our biggest issues, but hopefully, we’ve corrected a lot of that.”
Senior Ethan Ingram helped lead the Raiders to their first win of the year with 94 yards and three touchdowns on four receptions on offense and an interception on defense.
The Trojans did not respect Ingram’s play-making ability, and he made them pay.
Now, he hopes the momentum can keep moving in the right direction.
“The corner was playing off of me early on, and the safety was on the other side of the field,” Ingram said. “I was glad they were off of me. It was good to get that win. Our guys have a lot more confidence now. It will be even better if we win on Friday.”
Dooley also had a nice game offensively, tossing those three touchdowns to Ingram.
Dooley and Ty Blackstock each had six tackles.
Bruner Chandler led the Raiders in tackles with nine in the victory.
Nolan Whitworth had five tackles in his first game back from injury.
The Raiders will try and keep their newfound momentum going on Friday night when they face Clinton Christian Academy, a team in very similar circumstances.
Clinton Christian is 1-3 on the year after defeating Union Christian Academy 16-6 on Friday night for their first win of the season.
Kickoff in Clinton is set for 7 p.m.