Photo by Ronnie Day
Two Cougars close in on Benton County ball-carrier Richard Brooks (24) Friday night in round one of the state playoffs.
Photos by Ronnie Day
Trying to make the tackle on a North Panola runner are Buccaneers Ocquavion Agyekum (9) and Wesley Thomas (21).
Rod Reaves carries versus the Cougars.
North Panola eliminates Buccaneers
Benton County did not get a favorable draw in round one of the post-season.
The Buccaneers hosted North Panola, a team they had lost to 31-20 in the regular season, and were on the short end of a 48-22 score this time around.
Benton County ended the season with a 7-4 record, while the Cougars march on to the next round versus Velma Jackson with a 10-2 mark.
It was the Buccaneers’ second year to make the Class 3A playoffs in only their second season of eligibility. Coach Eric Rice began the football program (with players from Ashland and Hickory Flat) just six years ago.
North Panola surged ahead 28-0 at the half Friday night.
With 10:30 left in the first quarter, Kenneth Jefferson and Jamarvis Echols hooked up on a pass play for 23 yards and a touchdown. Jamal Leverson ran for the two-point conversion.
Less than six minutes later, Sylvonta Oliver picked up a Benton County fumble and returned it 12 yards for six points. A two-point try failed.
The Cougars added two more touchdowns in the second quarter. The Jefferson to Echols combination struck two more times, once from 15 yards out and again from 57 yards away. Jefferson ran for one conversion and was stopped short on another attempt.
The Buccaneers clicked the scoreboard with 9:54 remaining in the third quarter. Rod Reaves got loose for a 29-yard touchdown run. A try-for-two was not successful.
North Panola answered with a pair of scores to go up 42-6 by the end of the third. Lavanta Townes cashed in a 14-yard run. Jefferson threw to Echols for the two. Then four minutes later, Jefferson scrambled and scored on an 11-yard keeper. A pass try for the conversion fell incomplete.
Benton County reached the end zone twice in the fourth.
Reaves’ 25-yard touchdown pass to Javarius Sanders completed an eight-play, 50-yard drive. Reaves then tossed to Juwan Martin for the two.
With 4:39 left, Martin capped off an 11-play, 64-yard march with a 1-yard touchdown plunge. Reaves ran for the conversion to slice the deficit to 42-22.
North Panola added a final touchdown with 2:00 remaining in the game.
The Buccaneers finished with 360 yards total offense – 303 rushing and 57 passing.
The Cougars had 492 total yards – 293 on the ground and 199 through the air.
For Benton County, Reaves carried 20 times for 124 yards, Richard Brooks 13 times for 104 and Martin 13 for 60.
Top tackler for the Bucs was Martin with four solos and four assists. Isaac Garza and Ocquavion Agyekum each had four solos and one assist.