VAN HORNE — Nevada had no answers for an explosive Benton team Friday in a 56-16 loss to the Bobcats at Benton.
Benton ran for 370 yards — averaging 12.3 yards per carry — and totaled 538 yards of offense. Nevada also turned the ball over four times, falling to 3-3 overall and 1-1 in Class 2A District 7.
“They’re a real physical football team and we made a lot of mistakes, obviously, in the first half,” Nevada head football coach Andrew Kleeman said. “That made it hard to come back.”
Nevada hung around early
The Cubs made a stop in the red zone on the Bobcats’ first drive after Andrew Saunders intercepted a pass in the end zone. Then Nevada drove the ball 21 yards before being forced to punt.
On the ensuing drive, Benton marched 68 yards, capped by a 1-yard Matt Davis touchdown run. Then the wheels fell off for Nevada.
The Cubs turned it over on each of their next two possessions, resulting in two more Davis touchdown runs. Nevada also failed to score in the red zone early in the second quarter.
By halftime, Benton’s lead had swelled to 42-3. Kody Kruschwitz kicked a 39-yard field goal for Nevada’s only points.
But the Cubs didn’t hang their heads. They played Benton nearly even in the second half.
“Our kids fought,” Kleeman said. “I thought they came out in the second half and did some good things. We had some good energy.”
Sophomore running back Caden Jones provided a big spark for Nevada in the second half.
Filling in for Jakob Strottman, who was injured in the first half, Jones had a 46-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and finished the game with 118 yards rushing.
“Next guy up mentality,” Kleeman said. “Caden came in and did what we needed him to do.”
Blake Bottorf caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Kruschwitz for Nevada’s other touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
Nevada had success moving the ball at times, finishing with 326 yards. Kruschwitz completed 20 of 36 passes for 217 yards, Bottorf caught three passes for 23 yards, Brayden Bottorf snagged four for 68, Sam Abraham four for 53, Joven Nelson three for 36 and Saunders four for 29.
The Cubs were hurt by constant pressure from a Benton defense that racked up six sacks, including three by Ethan Weirather.
Defensively, Nevada had no answer for Davis. The Bobcat running back gashed the Cub defense for 274 yards and five touchdowns rushing.
“We’ve known we need to become a more physical football team all season,” Kleeman said. “We’ve talked about it every week. It’s something we need to continue to improve on.”
Clay Krousie completed 8 of 11 passes for 168 yards and a touchdown and added 27 yards and one touchdown rushing for Benton. Jack Shaw caught three passes for 60 yards and a score, Nathan Michels made three grabs for 63 yards and Ian Rupp two for 45 for the Bobcats, who improved to 5-1 overall and 1-1 in the district.
In addition to his interception, Saunders also led Nevada in tackles with six. Abraham, Nelson and Jay Calentine added four stops apiece and Anthony Ellis chipped in three.
Nevada faces another tough challenge this week. The Cubs will host West Marshall (5-1, 2-0).
“We’re going to move forward and get ready for the next one,” Kleeman said. “Disappointed in the loss, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to pick yourself up and move forward. We’ve got another really physical football team and we’re going to need a great week of practice in order to be ready for them.”
The Cubs’ game against West Marshall is their final home game of the season. It takes place at 7:30 p.m. this Friday at Cub Stadium.
Benton 56, Nevada 16
N 0 3 7 6 - 16
B 21 21 7 7 - 56
B - Matt Davis 1 run (Zach Brecht kick), 4:42.
B - Davis 8 run (Brecht kick), 3:14.
B - Davis 2 run (Brecht kick), 2:58.
B - Clay Krousie 16 run (Brecht kick), 8:01.
B - Jack Shaw 29 pass from Krousie (Brecht kick), 6:49.
N - Kody Kruschwitz 39 FG, 2:29.
B - Davis 1 run (Brecht kick), 1:21.
N - Caden Jones 46 run (Kruschwitz kick), 9:36.
B - Davis 40 run (Brecht kick), 7:31.
B - Hunter Northrup 8 run (Brecht kick), 9:51.
N - Blake Bottorf 5 pass from Kruschwitz (kick failed), 1:18.
Team statistics N B
First downs 21 24
Rushes-yards 31-109 30-370
Passing 20-36-2 8-11-1
Passing yards 217 168
Total yards 326 538
Fumbles-lost 2-2 0-0
Punts-average 2-46.0 1-28.0
Penalties-yards 7-41 8-57
Rushing: N - Caden Jones 14-118, Joven Nelson 1-7, Jakob Strottman 4-4, Sam Abraham 1-0. B - Matt Davis 19-274, Wyatt Bieschke 2-30, Clay Krousie 3-27, Hunter Northrup 3-24, Ethan Weirather 2-13, Adam Hansen 1-2.
Passing: N - Kody Kruschwitz 20-36-2-217. B - Krousie 8-11-0-168.
Receiving: N - Brayden Bottorf 4-68, Abraham 4-53, Nelson 3-36, Andrew Saunders 4-29, Blake Bottorf 3-23, Strottman 2-8. B - Nathan Michels 3-63, Jack Shaw 3-60, Ian Rupp 2-45.
Tackles: N - Saunders 6, Abraham 4, Nelson 4, Jay Calentine 4, Anthony Ellis 3. B - Davis 7.5, Rupp 6, Bieschke 3.5, Shaw 3.5, Weirather 3.5.
Sacks: B - Weirather 3, Davis 1, Rupp 1, Jackson Kithcart 1.
Fumble recoveries: B - Weirather, Easton Werner.
Interceptions: N - Saunders. B - Nathan Michels, Turner Schroeder.