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Benton blanks Bulldogs

  • Harrisburg sophomore Ross Rider works upfield while being tackled by Benton's Reid Baumgarte in the second half Saturday at Taylor Field.

    Harrisburg sophomore Ross Rider works upfield while being tackled by Benton's Reid Baumgarte in the second half Saturday at Taylor Field.

By Spyder Dann
updated: 3/29/2021 1:52 PM

Over the first two weeks of the spring football season, Benton has been a Swiss Army knife for head coach Justin Groves.
The defense has been more than solid, shutting out the opposition in two games to the tune of 95-0, while the offense has shown its ability to air it out or use the ground and pound.
Saturday, was a combination of all three as the Rangers cut up Harrisburg for a 42-0 win at Taylor Field.
Keegan Glover, who last week, set a school record for passing yards in game with 398 and set a new mark with six passing TD's, rushed for three Saturday afternoon, including two through the air as the junior continues to shine for Benton.
Grooves, when asked what has been more impressive the last two weeks: the offense or the defense, took a more political approach.
"My 47 sons impress me more and more every single day," Groves. said. "Our kids are coachable and fight for each other. Our kids get upset when they give up an inch on defense and our kids get upset when we don't get 10 yards on offense, so it's a great position to be in."
Benton drew first blood as Glover scored from six yards out with 7:12 left in the first quarter as Eli Hanson kicked the point after.
Wyatt McClintock then caught a 15-yard strike from Glover to close out the quarter.
In the second quarter, Peyton Swigonski scored from one-yard out and Glover countered with a seven-yard run as the Rangers led 28-0 at the half.
In the third quarter, Glover had other one-yard plunge into the end zone, while Glover hooked up with Ayden Newcomb from 29-yards out to get running clock at the 4:26 mark in the third quarter.
It was an about face for Harrisburg (1-1) and head coach Gabe Angelly, who said the things his team did right in last week's win against Massac County, they failed to duplicated against Benton.
They are a good team. We knew they were a good team coming in, it's something we preached all week," Harrisburg head coach Gabe Angelly said. "If you're going to be the best, you have to beat the best and they're the best. They're very physical and very athletic.
"Defensively, I know we gave up 42 points, but only gave up one big play. We didn't want to give up the big plays, we wanted to make them march downfield and make them make a mistake. They didn't make any."
Angelly said from an offensive standpoint, it was imperative for Harrisburg to keep Benton's defense off the field and have long, sustaining drives.
"Our offensive game plan just wasn't there. We weren't able to throw or run and then our defense got tired because they were out there the whole game."
Benton had both working as the Rangers racked up 346 yards of total offense, holding the Bulldogs to 68. Benton ran for 155 and threw for 191, but rushing was a point of emphasis Saturday, where Groves said his team had a goal in mind.
"Our line showed they can block a little bit. Last week (against West Frankfort), we didn't run the ball very well, but we had no intentions of it. This week, we had a goal in mind, we really wanted to get over 100 yards and our offensive line, which is led by some seniors, did a really good job upfront for us and the legs of our quarterback on offense, kept us in a lot of plays when Harrisburg had us covered up. Defensively, I don't know how many first downs Harrisburg had, but it was nice to come out to hold them to another goose egg."
Benton (2-0) will go on the road to Massac County Friday, while Harrisburg travels to Murphysboro. Both kick off times are set for 7 p.m.

Spyder Dann covers prep and college sports for the Southern Illinois LOCAL Media Group. Follow him on Twitter: @spydieshooter.

Benton 14 14 14 00 -- 42
Harrisburg 00 00 00 00 --  00

Team Statistics
Total Offense 346 68
Rushing-Attempts 30-155 21-8
Completions-Attempts 18-21 4-9
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-1
Turnovers 0 1
First Downs 23 5
Penalties-Yards 4-45 2-20

Individual Statistics
PASSING: BEN--Glover 16-18-0 184 (2 TD). HBG-Gulley 4-7-0 60
RUSHING: BEN--Swignoski 9-57 (TD), Bolen 11-46, Glover 6-23 (3 TD), Kinsman 1-8. HBG--Rider 12-31, Lester 8-(-18).
RECEIVING: BEN--Newcomb 5-74 (TD), McClintock 2-38 (TD), Bayliss 3-23, Baumgarte 3-20, Howell 1-18, Bolen 2-11. HBG--Rider 3-49, Boon 1-11.