BENTON, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — Last week the Benton offense made every second count against Parkway. A Hail Mary touchdown before halftime changed the momentum of the game and helped lead the Tigers to victory.
The Panthers were on offense with 15 seconds left on the clock in the first half. One of the offensive players took his helmet off on the field resulting in a penalty.
Parkway punts the ball and the Tigers take over with less than five seconds on the clock.
Benton head coach Reynolds Moore had an idea to switch things up for the Tigers. He tried something different with starting quarterback Jeff King and backup quarterback Malachi Ziegler.
“A couple weeks ago I was like, you know Malachi has a really strong arm too,” Coach Moore said. “Jeff is probably the best athlete on the field most of the time. What would this look like?”
Moore put backup quarterback Ziegler in the game and moved starting quarterback Jeff King to wide receiver. This strategy worked as Ziegler connected with King in the endzone on a Hail Mary.
“Coach was just talking to me about the fact that if we’re in a bind we can just put Malachi [in at quarterback],” explained starting quarterback Jeff King. “The dude has a great arm. There were around three seconds left and [Coach Moore] put me at receiver and was like, ‘Go get it.’ I just ran out there. I didn’t even see the ball. It just kind of hit me in my stomach and I got up with it and scored.”
“I saw him catch it and I wasn’t surprised,” said running back Greg Manning. “I know Jeff can do that. He’s very versatile.”
After that play the Tigers led 19-7 at half and kept that momentum going the rest of the game. Benton went on the defeat Parkway 45-21.
“There’s not really much you can say about a Hail Mary being some genius call,” Coach Moore said. “You just put good players in a position to make big plays and that’s what they did.”
Benton (5-5, 4-3) will travel to Walker (8-2, 4-1) for the first round of the LHSAA playoffs on Friday, November 10 at 7 p.m.