Benton Academy may have lost the game, but the Raiders fought until the bitter end in a 43-21 loss to Union Christian Friday.
The Lions scored on the opening drive, but Shelton Appleton blocked the extra point kick attempt.
Union attempted to capitalize on the early strike with an onside kick, but BA’s Kyle Kuhn caught the ball and held on to it to give the Raiders possession near midfield. The Raiders offense was unable to get anything going, however, and Benton had to punt it away.
Buddy Adkinson made a tackle for loss on third down and less than a yard to go, and the Lions decided to go for it on fourth down.
Cody Prescott then made the stop for a turnover on downs that brought the Raiders offense back on the field.
Benton’s offense continued to be smothered by the Lions defense, and Union’s Nick Evans struck on a 73-yard touchdown run that was followed up by Chris Evans adding the two-point conversion. Union now led 14-0 with 1:40 to go in the first quarter.
Nick Evans then tacked on another touchdown with a 39-yard interception return.
Benton’s Will Vaughan intercepted the two-point conversion pass attempt, and Union held a 20-0 lead that would carry over into the second quarter.
Benton finally got on the board when Arion Warren threw first down passes to Prescott and Zac Nesbit for first and goal on the four yard line.
Appleton then ran it up the middle for a two-yard gain and followed up with a one-yard carry.
Prescott then put the finishing touch on the drive with a one-yard touchdown.
Tolar Purvis added the extra point kick to cut it to 20-7 with 8:24 to go before halftime.
Union quickly answered with Bryson Fields catching a touchdown pass for a 25-7 lead with 7:57 on the clock.
The Raiders defense provided another opportunity when Caden Alexander recovered a fumble to stop a strong Lions drive, but once again the Raiders offense was contained.
With three minutes to go before halftime, Union added another touchdown to extend the lead to 36-7.
The Raiders offense found some success late in the third quarter when Appleton scored to cut Union’s lead to 43-13. That would remain the score heading into the final quarter.
In the fourth quarter Warren had back-to-back quarterback keepers to get the Raiders inside the 20.
Prescott then scored on a 19-yard carry and added the two-point conversion to make it 43-21.
The first two weeks of the 2018 season have been tough for Benton Academy, and this week won’t be any easier.
The Raiders travel to Flora Friday to take on rival Tri-County Academy. The Rebels are also 0-2 after losing 28-7 to Madison St. Joe.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.