The Benton Rangers and the Effingham Flaming Hearts will face off Saturday at 3 p.m. in the second round of the IHSA 4A football playoffs.
Both teams come in with 9-1 records with the Rangers playing in the playoffs and advancing to the second round for the first time since 2012 while the Flaming Hearts are making their third straight post-season appearance after advancing to the quarterfinals last year.
"They're the best team we've played in a while," said Benton coach Justin Groves. "Coming off an emotional game hopefully our kids will come out and have another week of improvement."
Last week Benton won 8-7 over Salem starting the game-winning drive with two minutes left and scoring the winning touchdown and two-point conversion with 28.6 seconds remaining.
Keegan Glover completed 8-of-12 passes for 95 yards and a touchdown. Tyler Butler finished with 99 yards rushing on 23 carries and Ayden Newcomb caught three passes for 86 yards.
The Flaming Hearts average 210.6 yards passing and 196.2 yards rushing per game. Quarterback Nathan Shackelford has passed for 2,106 yards with 27 touchdowns, including three last week, and seven interceptions while completing 65.6 percent of his passes (124-of-189).
Running back Chase Woomer has 820 yards rushing on 174 carries with 12 rushing touchdowns. Shackelford has 650 yards on 82 attempts with nine touchdowns with three last week, including runs of 30 and 84 yards off the option.
Wide receiver Tristin Duncan has 58 catches for 1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns, including a 37-yard touchdown pass last week. Fullback Jett Gillum has 29 catches for 409 yards and eight touchdowns, including two touchdown catches of 18 and eight yards last week.
"Our secondary has been solid all year, but he's a different kind of player," Groves said. "Duncan is 6-3, fast and gets open. He can take the top off a defense."
Defensively, Effingham has 19 sacks and 19 interceptions. Defensive back Parker Wolfe leads the team in interceptions with nine, including four last week and three the week before.