Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Benton Tigers Defense A Strength Heading Into 2014 Campaign

Benton Tigers head coach, Reynolds Moore joined us on the program Tuesday morning.  The second-year coach no longer has Jordan Shaffer running the show offensively (Shaffer received a scholarship to play baseball at Northwestern State University) but they haven't put away the pigskin in mothballs to start a deco-page team.

The Tigers spring practices, summer workouts and preseason sessions have been a House of Mirrors of sorts, since the only team they have seen... has been themselves.  During the spring, the team didn't get the benefit of a scrimmage against an opponent because so many players were still busy with the baseball team, so Moore and his staff ran the crew through an intrasquad scrimmage.  That all changes Friday when the Tigers head to Northwood's Jerry Burton Memorial Stadium for scrimmages with Wossman out of Monroe and Green Oaks.

Based on who is returning, the Tigers defense may be asked to carry the water early in the season. Returning seven starters with five earning 1st team status since their sophomore seasons, the Tigers are hoping the magic number to post on the scoreboard to earn a win will allow their offense some early season room to grow.

Heading into the summer, the Benton offensive line was a certain strength with four of five starters returning.  A knee injury has sapped the Tigers their starting center and because the D-Line was a little thin, Moore moved his starting right offensive tackle to the other side of the line of scrimmage.  From four returning starters to two on the offensive line---it doesn't take a rocket surgeon to realize what was once a pillar of muscle has now atrophied a bit.

Senior quarterback, Christian Smith will be the guy.  Last spring, an injured ankle kept him from workouts but Smith eventually got into the flow, starting on defense in the secondary before logging two-way duty as a wide receiver down the stretch.  Smith, who has never thrown a pass in a game, drew praise from Moore for his headiness and intelligence.

AccuTemp Cooling And Heating
Moore will count on a handful of 9th graders to round out the Friday night roster---not out of necessity as he had to during his days at Bolton High School---but solely because he has some freshman that can play. One of those peach-fuzzed fella's could have a large role in the program's growth in the coming years.

Garrett Hable, a freshman, will serve as Smith's backup.  Moore said during 7-on-7 Camp at Ole Miss, "There was a seamless transition," when Hable took over for Smith.  Having a young back-up, getting significant snaps bodes well for the Tigers offensive future.  In a perfect world, Smith proves to be more than capable running the spread before handing the keys to Hable for the next three years.  A three-sport athlete in middle school, Hable will play baseball and football in high school.  Perhaps Benton has a Hayden Hildebrand, Connor Curry, Shea Patterson-esque situation developing---which is a dream scenario for any high school football program.

Courtesy: Bossier Press-Tribune
The Tigers will participate in the Bossier Parish Lion's Club Jamboree on August 29th at Airline High
School.  Moore's men don't leave Bossier Parish in the month of September, opening the year with Sterlington at home followed by a visit from Rodney Guin's gang of Haughton Buccaneers.  The Tigers hit the road in week three to face Coy Brotherton's Plain Dealing Lions before beginning District 1-4A play against Scott Abernathy's North DeSoto Fighting Griffins on September 26th at home.

October's schedule features more fun on Thursday's than NBC's must-see TV hey-day.  The Tigers face Jerwin Wilson's Woodlawn Knights at Independence Stadium on Thursday, October 2nd. The following Thursday, Mike Greene's Fair Park Indians travel to Tiger-town. Benton heads to Loyola's Messmer Stadium to meet Alan Carter's Flyers on Friday the 17th.  Spencer Heard and Minden are the Homecoming guests of Benton on the 24th before the Tigers close out the month on Halloween Eve with a home game against Northwood and Jim Gatlin's group that should be a shoot-out.

Benton ends the regular season with their second game in Indy Stadium to battle Huntington and first-year head coach Marvin Harris.

Last year, in Moore's first season at the wheel, Benton finished 5-6, losing to district rival, Northwood in the opening round of the Class 4A Non-Select Playoffs.

Reynolds Moore Interview