WEEK 9 PREVIEW: Benton (5-3) at Anna Jonesboro (8-0)

by Steve Dunford 

The Benton Rangers are playing to keep their season alive tonight as they face off against the undefeated Anna Jonesboro Wildcats.  Here are the common opponents between the two:


Benton lost 28-15 Week 1

A-J won 41-7 Week 5


Benton won 29-13 Week 2

A-J won 46-14 Week 8


Benton won 41-0 Week 3

A-J won 34-0 Week 6


Benton won 47-14 Week 5

A-J won 43-18 Week 1


Benton won 53-13  Week

A-J won 40-7 Week 3


Benton lost 19-14  Week 8

A-J won 43-14  Week

With last Friday night’s upset loss at Murphysboro, the Rangers has put themselves in a must win position.  This is what Benton Coach Bob Pankey has to say coming into tonight’s game.  “Obviously we’ve put ourselves in a much tougher situation now with the loss to Murphy. In that game, we could never really get our offense clicking and it hurt us. Now we have a tough match up with A-J this week. But as was proven last Friday night, upsets can and do happen.”

“A-J has one of the better running games in Southern Illinois with a great RB in Jayce Turner and a great wing/slot in Arieh Hart. Both have the potential to make big plays. Our goal will be to try to contain the run game well enough to get our offense on the field. And then we have to be able to establish momentum with our offense”

Benton WR Cade Thomas

This is what Anna Jonesboro coach Brett Dietering had to say about tonight’s matchup with the Rangers.  “I expect the same thing as in the past three years, a heavy dose of Hamilton Page.  It all comes down to the ability to attack the run and pass game. If Page is not hooking up with Cade Thomas, you then have to worry about stopping Blaine Pankey running the ball.”

I’ve had the opportunity to watch both teams a few times on film, and once live.  I think that Page is the best QB in Southern Illinois.  I think Turner is the best RB.  Turner and Pankey would probably go in as the number three and four linebackers in Southern Illinois.  I think they are about even, with Luke Ford being Number 1, and Jordan Bartok #2.

Yes the Rangers are coming in the underdogs.  I might get ran out of Franklin County but I have to go with A-J in this one, especially at home.  If the Rangers get defeated, they can still get in with a lot of help from their “friends.”

It is also a game that I would not be surprised if the Rangers would win, especially if Hamilton Page has a big passing night.

This is the second best game of the night in all of Southern Illinois.  Leave early, stop at Giant City Lodge for supper, grab some apples and enjoy a great night of high school football.





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