The 11- to 13-year-old Fort Benning Bengals held on for a 34-27 win against the South Columbus Raiders in a back-and-forth Columbus Youth Football battle Saturday at Rigdon Park.
The Raiders got off to a quick start, scoring a touchdown on their first possession to lead 7-0. The Bengals answered back when quarterback B.J. Knight scored a touchdown. The extra point failed and the Bengals trailed 7-6. The Raiders padded their lead to 13-6 to end the first quarter.
Michael Cavazos of the Bengals scored a 23-yard touchdown to tie the score at 13 with four minutes remaining in the second quarter. The Raiders broke the stalemate with a touchdown run from Terrance Dixon, but missed the extra point, to take a 19-13 lead.
With less than a minute remaining in the half, Cavazos and Knight scored again to give the Bengals a 20-19 lead at the half.
Neither teams scored in the third quarter, but the Bengals stormed into the fourth quarter scoring on a 40-yard Cavazos touchdown to cushion the lead to 27-19. The Raiders closed the gap to 27-25 with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, but with less than a minute to go, Terrell Jones intercepted a Raiders pass to thwart the drive. The Bengals made the most of the turnover, scoring a touchdown to seal the win, 34-27. Jones said he was ecstatic when he got the final interception.
“When I got that interception, I knew the (Raiders) weren’t going to win because there were only a few minutes left in the game and they didn’t have time to catch up,” he said. “The game was close at certain points, but we were able to hold them when we needed to.”
Knight said the Bengals were nervous when they took the field, but as the game went on, the team played better.
“The defensive line came out to play and the linebackers were making a lot of hits,” he said. “We need to give all the props to the defense for this game.”
Cavazos said he never doubted the team.
“I always stayed positive and knew we would win,” he said.
Head coach Lee Obie said aside from some minor mistakes, the Bengals did well.
“I told them before we got (on the field) that (the Raiders) would give us a run for our money and they did,” Obie said. “It was a tough game because my guys made it tougher than what it’s supposed to be. But after halftime, I think they realized their mistakes and fixed them in the second half.”
The Bengals are 2-0. The Northeast Packers are up next for the Bengals. The two teams will take the field at 7 p.m. Oct. 14 at Midland Middle School while the Raiders take on Northeast Packers at noon Oct. 16 at Rigdon Park.