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Rangers Murphysboro romps past Rangers Loss is Benton's first of the season.

Byline: ian mcmahon contributing writer

to get in gear against a strong Murphysboro's defense, which relentless forced three-and-outs all night and allowing the Red Devils' offense to get back on the field. After another Rangers punt, Murphy methodically moved the ball downfield and Clark highlighted the drive with a 40-yard touchdown run. This time, the two-point conversion was good to make the score 26-0.

Try as it might, Benton could not crack the Murphy defensive pressure, fumbling the ball on the first play of its next drive and leading to another Red Devils' score.

Clark did the honors and the conversion was good for a 34-0 lead at the half.

The first-half statistics told the story. Murphysboro produced 335 yards of total offense, and held Benton to just 89 yards. It was a shock to many Rangers fans, who were anticipating a much different outcome.

The Rangers started the second half with the ball, and quickly gave it back to Murphysbro. The Red Devils took advantage of the gift and scored two plays later to make the score 41-0 and start the running clock.

Perfect season over, the Rangers travel to Anna-Jonesboro Friday to try to get back on the winning track before the playoffs the following week.

MURPHYSBORO -- The host Red Devils started their Senior Night game with two reverse runs and scored on their first six offensive possessions last Friday to beat previously undefeated Benton, 41-0.

Benton falls to 7-1 overall and finishes 4-1 in the Ohio Division of the River-to-River Conference, or good enough to share the title with the Red Devils (6-2, 4-1). It is the Rangers' first title shared or otherwise since 2001. That bit of good news, however, wasn't enough to bring a smile to the face of Benton head coach Justin Groves.

"They out-coached us right from the start," said Groves. "We weren't expecting that (reverse runs and onside kick). Our defense was playing aggressively that first snap and they threw over top for a big play. Then the onside kick right after that. That's just good coaching. Our defense played a little tentatively and our offense made mistakes that we normally could overcome, but we were not able to (tonight) against a good team that exposed a few things we have to work on."

Senior running back Tyler Butler led the Rangers in rushing with 100 yards on 14 carries. But there weren't too many offensive highlights to boast about.

Benton elected to kick off to start the game, and the coverage team downed the Red Devils at their own 16-yard line. If you blinked, you might have missed the first play from scrimmage. It was a halfback reverse pass from Desmond Clark to Hunter Meade for a gain of 53 yards down the right side of the field. It only took the Red Devils three extra plays after that to score. The extra-point kick was not converted due to a bad snap that left the kicker scrambling.

The next trick Murphysboro pulled out was an onside kick after missing the extra point, and the coverage team fell on the ball for the Red Devils at the Benton 46.

Murphy proved early it would be able to do anything it wanted to the untested Benton defense.

Hoppenstedt started the drive with an 11-yard run. He would later reach the end zone from eight yards out. The score upped the advantage to 12-0. The two-point conversion was stuffed at the line of scrimmage.

Benton's offense got the ball for the first time with 6:51 left in the opening period and drove from its own 16 to the Murphysboro eight after an 11-yard run by Butler to set up 4th and 3. The Red Devils' defense, however, didn't budge after that, knocking down quarterback Keegan Glover's pass to get the ball back.

The Murphy offense proceeded to march the ball the length of the field on seven plays, fueled by 11- and 19-yard runs by Clark. After a penalty, Aiden McNitt broke free and romped 43 yards for a touchdown. Again, the two-point conversion pass failed, leaving the Red Devils up 18-0 with 8:47 left in the first half.

Benton's offense was unable
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Author:ian mcmahon contributing writer
Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Oct 23, 2019
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