Hornets knock off undefeated Rangers

Nashville secured a hard fought win during its last home game in the spring 2021 season, dethroning the Benton Rangers 42-28 Saturday.

In a game that swapped big plays from siren to siren, Nashville scored first and kept its lead throughout the contest. Luke Ehret ran it in for a 30-yard touchdown with 7:26 left in the first. The Hornets would sting again with a 62-yard pass from quarterback Cole Malawy to Isaac Turner. Nashville also kept a superb defense in the first to stop the Rangers from scoring, including two intended touchdown passes.

Hornets had another big play in the second quarter with an 82-yard missile to Turner, making the score 21-6 with 5:26 left in the half. Benton would go on to score again before the break, making the score 21-14.

In the second half, Hornet Buzz Ritzel intercepted a Ranger pass. That possession would lead to a 12-yard touchdown run by Malawy.

The exciting third quarter also saw the ball quickly switch sides. First, Benton had intercepted a Hornet pass in the end zone for a touchback. The subsequent play then had the Hornets respond with their own interception with Ben Reid nabbing the ball mid-air. During this run, Malawy would find a wide open Nick Miller who bolted for 54 yards to the end zone. Hornets led after three 35-20.

Ehret would score again for the Hornets in the fourth quarter. Benton attempted to make a comeback later in the game but Kolten Gajewski’s second huge quarterback in the game with less than two minutes remaining secured the victory.

Malawy completed 17 of 24, including four touchdowns and three interceptions, for 347 yards. In receiving, Turner had seven catches for 211 yards (203 in the first half), Jaxson Goforth had three catches for 38 yards, and Miller had three catches for 62 yards. Ehret had three receptions for 31 yards, and Ritzel had one reception for five yards.

Nashville also had a big game in rushing Gladson had 15 carries for 53 yards, and Miller had six carries for 30 yards.

Overall, Hornets finished with 132 rushing and 347 passing for a total of 479 yards in total offense against the 376 total from the Rangers.

Christian O’Campo was 7 for 7 in extra point attempts.

Benton will soon be a regular foe. The SIRR Ohio conference team is one of two teams who will transfer to the Mississippi division beginning with the 2021-22 season. The other teams in the SIRR Mississippi conference are Anna-Jonesboro, Du Quoin, Nashville and Pinckneyville.

The Nashville Hornets close out the season on Friday when they travel to a conference game at Anna-Jonesboro.

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