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PREP FOOTBALL: Sophomore QB steps up for Benton

by Sam Lane | September 19, 2023 at 2:43 a.m.
Benton's Drew Davis looks to throw during their game Friday Sept. 15, 2023 in Benton.More photos at .Stephen B. Thornton/Special to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Drew Davis had to wait his turn to make his first start for the Benton Panthers.

Behind senior Cline Hooten, Davis played parts of Benton's first two games, including the final three quarters of the Panthers' win over Sylvan Hills on Sept. 8.

Because of his performance in that game and in practice, the sophomore Davis earned his first start last Friday against Little Rock Catholic -- the defending conference champion.

In last year's matchup the Rockets beat the Panthers 38-17 in a game that ultimately decided the conference champion.

Benton Coach Brad Harris has said all summer and fall that his quarterback position is a week-to-week battle between Hooten and Davis, with both receiving equal snaps during practice.

But heading into the rematch with Little Rock Catholic, it was Davis that earned the starting nod. And he certainly didn't disappoint in his starting debut.

Davis completed 21 of 33 passes for 334 yards and four touchdowns, including three in the first half. He also rushed seven times for 60 yards in Benton's 49-42 win over Little Rock Catholic.

"He's a cool cat," Harris said of Davis. "You see that just by watching him play. He's a quiet kid, but he absorbs everything you coach him on. And he makes plays.

"We haven't had a quarterback to run the football like he has, and we kind of kept [Catholic] honest a little bit with that. And then, he knows where to go with the football, he knows how to buy just a little time to get rid of the football. ... He's gonna be special."

Davis had his work cut out for him with his opposition, with the Rockets first-year quarterback Jackson England setting the pace early. The junior completed 22 of 37 passes for 437 yards and six touchdowns.

There were six lead changes and ties in the shootout at Benton's Panther Stadium. The two offenses combined for more than 1,000 yards as Benton came back from down 14-0 to win.

Davis has completed 53 of his 83 passes this season for a 63.9% completion percentage, totaling 684 yards and seven touchdowns in three games.

Print Headline: Sophomore QB steps up for Benton


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