Benton ends MEC streak with win over LeBlond
By Chris Bils The St. Joseph News-Press
For four quarters Friday night, Benton was undoubtedly the better team in Midland Empire Contest.
The Cardinals (2-5, 1-4 MEC) did not turn the ball over, held one of the most productive offenses in the area under 300 total yards and did not allow a play of more than 40 yards in a 21-14 win over Bishop LeBlond at Eagle Stadium.
All of which would be insignificant, except Benton had not beaten an MEC opponent in more than three years.
“We made big plays when we needed to,” Cardinals coach Matt Tabor said. “When we needed a big catch or a big first down we got one. Defensively, we were way better than we have been the past three weeks.”
The Cardinals — who earlier this year snapped a 19-game overall losing streak — stopped their MEC skid at 20 games, but they did not even know it until Tabor brought it up after the game.
“All we did was work,” he said. “We don’t focus on those things. We only focus on things that are positive.”
Benton threw the first punch early, forcing the Golden Eagles (4-3, 2-3) to punt on their first possession before marching 72 yards on its opening drive.
Senior quarterback Dominic Hill got the Cardinals moving by converting his first third down with a 15-yard pass to sophomore wide receiver Devon Burton.
Seven plays later, Burton hauled in another pass on third down — this time from his younger brother Cooper for a touchdown to put Benton up 7-0 with less than six minutes to play in the first quarter.
On a play they practiced just twice before, freshman Cooper Burton peeled out of a reverse and unleashed a 24-yard throw to a wide open Devon along the right sideline.
“We put the play in just yesterday,” Tabor said. “We have enough confidence because they’re good enough athletes to execute things like that on the fly.”
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