Whit Warford asks his 3 questions before the Benton Panthers varsity football game, and answers them afterward. The Panthers beat the West Memphis Blue Devils on Friday, October 28th, with a final score of 55-38. See the Postgame Answers next week (below in maroon).
Will Braylen Russell continue to thrash defenses?
Braylen Russell has really started to live up to the preseason hype, having rushed for 1,121 yards and 18 touchdowns while averaging 7.5 yards per play on the season. In last week’s game, Russell rushed for 276 yards and 4 touchdowns, closely resembling every other game he has dominated this season.
With West Memphis’ run defense being not the best, the Panthers are sure to give Russell the rock every chance they get.
Braylen Russell got things done this week against West Memphis. Braylen rushed for 147 yards this week while scoring 3 touchdowns. He averaged 6.1 yards per attempt on 24 carries. His longest run of the night was a 40-yard carry. This puts his season stats at 1,268 yards with 21 total touchdowns.
Overall it’s safe to say that Braylen has lived up to the hype and is the dominant running back everyone hoped he would be. Benton will certainly continue to use Braylen next week as they face Sheridan.
Will Benton Continue to get the job done with a backup Quarterback?
At the beginning of the season, The Panthers were struggling to decide on a starting QB. After SR Jack Woolbright won the job he was injured in week 5, giving JR Cline Hooten the opportunity to take over and help the Panthers dominate the past 3 games winning by an average of 45 ppg. This past week, Hooten threw for 202 passing yards and also scored 2 rushing TDs.
Despite very limited playing time last year, Hooten has really stepped up to the plate this season when the Panthers needed him. Will he be able to lead a big drive this week, against tougher competition?
Benton continues to get the job done with a backup quarterback. JR quarterback Cline Hooten has played well in his last few starts. In this week’s game, he went 13-18 throwing for 200 yards and 2 touchdowns. Cline also kept his mistakes to a minimum only getting sacked one time and throwing no interceptions.
The Panthers will need Cline to continue to play well and keep mistakes to a minimum and not turn the ball over, which he has done so far. If the Panthers continue to do this they will continue to win.
How Will Benton handle playing a true dual-threat quarterback for the first time this season?
This game will be a big test for the Panthers as they will face their first true dual-threat quarterback. So far this season, the Panthers have faced mostly traditional pocket passers and done well. This week, though, they will be facing a more mobile QB. West Memphis is averaging 38 points per game, scoring 42 points last week against Greene County Tech.
The Panthers will need to be on their A-game this week in order to meet this challenge. Last week, they only allowed 28 points and pitched a shutout in the second half. Will the Benton defense be able to hold up against a dual-threat quarterback?
The Panther defense did just enough to get the victory this week. But overall the Panthers did not pass the test of stopping a dual-threat quarterback. West Memphis quarterback Keland Mills threw for 454 yards and 4 touchdowns. To go along with that he also rushed for 53 yards. The Panthers got torched through the air but held the ground game in check for most of the night.
The Panthers will need to work on their ability to stop a dual-threat quarterback in the future. But for now, the Panthers can celebrate their victory over the Blue Devils. Next week the Panthers will have another test against Sheridan’s dual-threat quarterback.
Give article comments on this page or email [email protected].
This is Benton Panthers sports coverage, with writing and photography by Benton High School students. Visit their home page at www.mysaline.com/benton-panthers-sports. Writers are Devon Hunt, Jack Woolbright, Whit Warford & Bentley Stamper.