Opening night at Tabor Field was very successful for both the Benton football team and its sophomore quarterback Keegan Glover as the Rangers beat Carterville, 42-0, triggering the running clock with 3:05 left in the third quarter.
"It was scary because I knew people knew my name from lower levels, so starting varsity I feel like I had some pressure, but the team had faith in me and I had faith in them, so it all worked out," Glover said.
Benton jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and took a 28-0 halftime lead. Glover wasn't totally inexperienced on the varsity level, having made his first start in the last game of last season on Tabor Field losing to the playoff-bound Anna-Jonesboro Wildcats, 43-6.
Obviously, Glover's first varsity start was less than successful. The Rangers gained a total of just 130 yards that day, including 32 yards passing as the Rangers limped to a 1-8 record. The only score came on a 62-yard kickoff return.
"I was very nervous even though I had started that game last year," Glover said. "This season is different with a fresh start and a little more pressure, but coaches have faith in me. They know I can do it. I'm excited because I feel most people doubted us this season because they didn't know what to expect. But now people can see what we can do. We're going to win a lot more games this year. People know that now."
Friday was a totally different story with the Rangers shutting out the Lions holding Carterville to 59 yards rushing on 29 carries and 25 yards passing.
Offensively, the Rangers rushed for 149 yards on 42 carries with Glover completing 8-of-12 passes for 134 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. He had two long completions of 39 yards to Blake Stewart and 44 yards to Ayden Newcomb.
"We were going to spread them out to see what works first and then run the ball or pass the ball whatever is working," Glover said. "The line was unbelievable tonight. I couldn't have done anything tonight without them. I had all kinds of time."
Glover scored a rushing touchdown in the second quarter and finished with four yards on five attempts, but two of his attempts were on two sacks for 14 yards negating a 12-yard run and his two-yard touchdown run.
Even though Glover had only one varsity start under his belt, he was used to the spotlight. He began playing quarterback in fourth grade and was the JV starter last year.
"It all began in fourth grade when our quarterback went on a trip or something and I tried it and I immediately liked it," Glover said.
So far, it would appear that the sophomore still kind of likes the position.
The Rangers travel to Sparta for a 7 p.m. match this Friday.