Here in central Arkansas, Friday night football has been a major event for as long as I can remember.
Yes, communities in these parts follow their high school football teams with a passion. When a team is struggling, that tends to irritate the heck out of its home town.
We Benton residents have been quite irritated this year as our poor Benton Panthers have been plagued with trouble all season long. The Panthers traveled to Sheridan on Friday and lost 15-7 to the Yellowjackets.
Sheridan isn't that good but, fortunately for them, Benton is worse this year. That little game put Sheridan's record at 3-4 (2-2 in the 6A South), while Benton fell to 1-6 (0-4 in the 6A South). Benton's only victory came against Conway, a team that is bad as Benton in that it has also managed to win one only game this year. Thank God for Conway, I suppose.
How bad did Benton play against Sheridan? Well, you only need one stat to show that -- 80 yards of total offense. To make matters worse, the Panthers were held to 17 yards in the second half. That's just sad.
So, congratulations to Sheridan. Benton was Sheridan's homecoming game, so there's something to be said for good scheduling.
Speaking of opportunistic scheduling when it comes to homecoming games, there's hope on the horizon for my beloved (yet struggling) Panthers. The Panthers host Little Rock Fair for the Benton homecoming on Friday.
Little Rock Fair hasn't won a game all season. Here's hoping Benton will chalk up a victory, improve to a sparkling 2-6 record and get a conference win. There's a lot on the line when those two teams take to the field -- the loser gets the honor of being dead last in the 6A South while the winner is, well, next to last. Yeah. How's that for motivation?
This season is a wash for the Panthers and I'm hoping things will get better next year. My dad and I go to almost all Panthers home games, so we'll be back to watch more football for (hopefully) many years to come. We're both proud Benton High graduates, after all, and those games give us the chance to visit and catch up on this, that and the other. The social aspects of those games are very important to us, but we'd love to see the team play well.
Benton isn't the only team that's struggling. Head right here to read about the Arkansas Razorbacks' latest woes.