BENTON: Panthers return another strong defensive team

Conference: 6A South
Coach: Scott Neathery
’14 Record: 11-1-1 (7-0)

The Benton Panthers had a season for the ages in 2014, sweeping 6A South play and finishing 11-1-1 overall.

“Everything came together last year for a great year,” Coach Scott Neathery said. “We had a good mixture of talent and unselfish attitudes. The defining moment was beating Lake Hamilton when our quarterback was out of the game. We won that game with defense.”

Five offensive starters return from last year’s 6A South championship team. All-state quarterback Cason Maertens is back after passing for 3,400 yards last fall. Senior Drew Dyer is back at H-back after earning all-conference honors in 2014. Benton’s big-play receiver, senior Drew Harris, is also back. Harris hauled in 1,400 receiving yards in 2014. Seniors Colten Nix, Grayson Morrow and Hunter Howe add depth at receiver. Seniors Preston Madison and Roy Blalock are three-year starters on the offensive line. Senior Selleck Childress and juniors Jacob Cooper and Robert Cochran fill out the line.

Seniors Bill Williams, Gregory Bodkin and John Penn, along with junior Paul Clift, fill out the defensive line. Senior all-conference linebacker Dylan Murphy returns. He’ll be joined in the linebacker corps by classmates Ben Brasuell and Kyler Nitschke. Seniors Adontae Winston and Simeon Watson lead in the Panther secondary.

“We feel like we will have another good defensive team this year,” Neathery said. “We have several starters back. It should be another tough schedule in our conference. Pine Bluff should be the favorite with El Dorado and us in the mix.”

5 Players to Watch:

Drew Dyer (RB)
Roy Blalock (OT)
Ben Brasuell (LB)
Dylan Murphy (LB)
John Penn (DE)


1 Must-see Game:
“Best game — Salt Bowl with Bryant. War Memorial. Attendance of 26,000.” — Neathery

2015 Schedule:
Sept. 4        vs. Bryant
Sept. 11    at Jacksonville
Sept. 18    at Greenbrier
Sept. 25    LR Parkview
Oct. 2        at LR Hall
Oct. 9        Sheridan
Oct. 16        at Texarkana
Oct. 23        Lake Hamilton
Oct. 30        at El Dorado
Nov. 6        Pine Bluff