St. Joe Benton shuts out St. Joe LeBlond
By Chris Bils The St. Joseph News-Press
Cooper Burton dreamed all week of returning to the field in a big way, and he did just that in Benton’s 34-0 shutout win over Bishop LeBlond on Friday night at Sparks Field.
The Cardinals’ sophomore quarterback — in his first game back since an injury Week 4 at Smithville — accounted for 282 total yards of offense (202 rushing, 80 passing) and three of Benton’s five touchdowns.
His presence meant more than just production. As soon as he turned the corner for the game’s first score – an 87-yard scamper – it became clear that the Cardinals had their swagger back.
“It felt great,” Burton said. “I told everybody we just work as a family. I just wanted this comeback to be as great as it could be and it was, because my teammates helped me out with nice blocks, nice routes by the receivers. Everything was clicking tonight.”
Burton’s opening score came after an interception by Benton senior defensive back D’Angelo Ross, the first of four takeaways by the Cardinals defense. Benton intercepted Golden Eagles quarterback Sam Schanze three times and recovered a fumble on the way to its first shutout since 2011.
“I will remember this until the day I die,” said senior defensive lineman Ebon Donahue. “This is probably the best game I’ve ever played and ever had in my high school career.”
After outrunning everyone to the sideline and then to the end zone, Burton ran in the two-point conversion to make the score 8-0 with 21 seconds left in the first quarter.
Benton (3-4, 2-2 Midland Empire Conference) benefited from another Eagles (3-4, 0-4) turnover on the very next possession, when senior Devon Burton beat LeBlond wide receiver Trey Hartman to a deep pass in the end zone.
Benton took a little more than 6 minutes to drive 80 yards, and Cooper Burton showed his quarterback instincts to punch it in the end zone. Scrambling along the right sideline, he found his brother Devon Burton standing open near the 5-yard line. Devon did the rest, evading several defenders before diving over the goal line to make it 14-0 with 5:29 left in the half.
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