WEEK 8 PREVIEW: Benton (5-2)(3-1) at Murphysboro (1-6)(1-3)

by Steve Dunford

This high school football season has flown by.  It seems impossible that week eight is coming up.

The Benton Rangers 5-2 on the year and 3-1 on the Southern Illinois River to River, Ohio Division, will be travelling to Doc Bencini Field to take on the Murphysboro Red Devils.

Murpry Comes in to tonight’s game with a 1-6 record, and 1-3 in the conference.  Their only win was against Massac County who they defeated 42-20.  They had a heartbreaking loss to West Frankfort 42-36 in overtime.  They lost another heartbreaker to Harrisburg last week 17-14 on a last second field goal.

Here is what Benton coach Bob Pankey had to say about the Red Devils,  “Murphy is playing a lot of young guys. They are athletic but inexperienced. They do have the ability to make big plays. Their style of offense incorporates lots of motion and misdirection, so we have to play defense with disciplined eyes and be assignment-sound.”

Bailey Hopson, along with Cade Thomas, one of Hamilton Page’s favorite targets throughout the season.

Murphysboro Coach Gary Carter had this to say about the matchup with the Rangers.  “Benton is good at what they do on offense. The QB can throw and run and the spread formations makes it even more difficult to defend. The receivers from Benton do a nice job with their routes and catch the ball well. Defensively, I am impressed with their linebackers especially the Pankey kid, he is a good football player. We will have to play well to have a chance to win.

Jamarr McZeke  can scramble out of the pocket.  The start against WF was either his first or second start.  He liked hooking up Jordan Haskins on that drive against the Redbirds that tied the game up in the closing seconds,  Haskins also ran back the 95 yard fumble in the closing seconds and had an interception.

Braden Caldwell is good both sides of the ball, and shows some senior leadership to this young team.   Sophmore Zane Caraway will be one of the best running backs in the Ohio his senior year.  He is one of the top ones already.  Another sophomore Jake Hoppendstedt, will be a good one as well, and is a significant contributor for the Red Devils.

Benton will have a big advantage on the line.  Offensively, Hamilton Page will have a lot of time to pass.  He could hit 200 yards.  Defensively, the linebacker corps of the Rangers could cause McZeke some problems.

I thought the linebacker corps for Benton and Harrisburg are comparable.  McZeke was 1-5 with two interceptions against Harrisburg.  However Murphy picked up 287 yards on the ground.

This is a must win for the Rangers tonight.  They will not have enough playoff points to get in at 5-4.  It is going to be a war down at A-J next week.

I am going with the Rangers by 20.  This game has the potential to be a shootout.  It is a great atmosphere for High School football and I would encourage you to make the trip down there tonight.


Ranger Stats


Story of the Murphysboro-Harrisburg Game from the Harrisburg Register





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