Sports

Panthers welcome in Benton

Bobcats come to Mt. Pleasant for 1st round of playoffs

Mt. Pleasant’s Sam Carrasco handles a Burlington runner during the Panthers’ home game last week. The Panthers will be back on their home field to take on Benton Community on Friday night. (File)
Mt. Pleasant’s Sam Carrasco handles a Burlington runner during the Panthers’ home game last week. The Panthers will be back on their home field to take on Benton Community on Friday night. (File)

MT. PLEASANT — The 2020 high school football playoffs have arrived, and in a much quicker fashion than usual. After seven weeks of play, the field is set. Mt. Pleasant (4-3) will welcome in the postseason at home with a Class 3A showdown against Benton (3-4).

The Panthers are coming off a major bounce-back game with a 42-16 win against Burlington. Mt. Pleasant won their first game in almost a month last Friday.

The Panthers continue to rely on senior quarterback Jack Johnson, who has thrown for 690 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions, and has also ran for 729 yards and nine scores.

A couple of very significant things happened in the win over Burlington. Klayton Kleinkopf became the first Panther running back to eclipse 100 yards rushing on the season, and leading receiver Chase Williamson finally got back into the end zone after a seven-week dry spell.

Benton has been hot and cold all season. The Bobcats started the season 2-1 before losing three of their last four games. Benton has had a tough schedule, though, and all four losses are to quality teams; Class 2A’s Williamsburg (ranked No. 2 in Gazette poll, No. 1 in AP poll), Clear Creek-Amana, Grinnell and No. 1 Cedar Rapids Xavier.

Like Mt. Pleasant, Benton also has a speedy quarterback. Junior Colin Buch has had trouble throwing the ball, going for 540 yards, two touchdowns and nine interceptions, but he has also ran for 297 yards and five scores.

Benton’s leading running back, Lawrence Wallace, has been strong all year. He has ran for 444 yards and one touchdown. Junior Jacob Brecht has run for three touchdowns and also leads the team in receiving, catching 33 passes for 224 yards and three scores.

The winner of Friday night’s game will likely get the privilege of traveling to Eldridge to take on No. 8/9 ranked North Scott in the second round. Burlington was originally supposed to play at North Scott in the first round, and had to bow out.