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Red Devils take down Rangers in second half

Rick Hayes
Posted on 10/14/2016, 10:35 PM

Murphysboro turned four turnovers into touchdowns, outscoring Benton 42-14 in the second half for a 61-35 Ohio division River to River conference victory at Tabor Field on Friday night.

Benton held a 21-19 lead at halftime after driving 96 yards for a score under a minute to go. Blane Pankey culminated the drive with a 3-yard run and Oliver Davis added the extra point kick.

Murphysboro needed just three plays after the break to go back on top, 27-21, on a 43-yard run by Brandon Caldwell, who would add a 22-yard run in the third quarter and a 61-yard jaunt late in the game for his trifecta night.

Benton would tie the game the last time at 27-all when quarterback Hamilton Page hooked up with Tyson Houghland on a 15-yard pass play. Murphy answered with two more touchdowns in the third quarter. Caldwell scored his second TD and then Benton fumbled near midfield. The Red Devils took advantage of the miscue by driving downfield, culminated by a 1-yard run by Noah Barnes.

Still down by just 12 points, 47-35, early in the fourth quarter, Murphysboro put the proverbial nail in the coffin when Benton fumbled again near midfield. Thinking the play was dead, the Rangers stood around while Murphy lineman Devan Austin picked the ball up and rambled 50 yards to paydirt. That gave the "Devils a 54-35 lead with 8:26 left in the game.

Caldwell"s long run resulted in the final outcome after Benton went three and out.

Page scored on runs of 8 and 19 yards for the Rangers, who played without the services of linebacker Joey Craig. Davis served as the backup at the position and was injured in the second half.

Benton is now 4-4 and will need a victory against Anna-Jonesboro on Senior Night Friday at Tabor Field to have any chance of making the postseason playoffs. Murphysboro is also 4-4.

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