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Braves too much for Benson


Banks gets three touchdowns from senior Jerod Barger in a 49-0 rout of Benson in nonleague football action

by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Banks senior running back Jerod Barger runs through an arm tackle during last Friday's nonleague football game against Benson.In his first game as the official starter at running back, Banks senior Jerod Barger made a distinct impression, rushing for three touchdowns Friday night in the Braves’ lopsided 49-0 victory over Benson.

“It’s coming together. Progress-wise, I think we’re in pretty good shape,” Banks head coach Ben Buchanan said of his squad. “Getting Jerod Barger in there at running back is definitely one of the puzzle pieces that’s fitting.”

Barger was named the starter on Monday, then went out on Friday against Benson and rushed for 61 yards on eight carries (7.6 yards per carry), scoring on runs of 7, 4 and 2 yards as the Braves built an early lead that was never challenged.

Quarterback Garrett Markham also had a solid game, rushing 10 times for 79 yards and two touchdowns — a 13-yard run in the first quarter and a 1-yard plunge early in the second — and the senior also completed 5 of 9 passes for 95 yards, including a 46-yard scoring strike to Nolan Hill.

“Garrett continued to be really efficient running the offense,” Buchanan said. “I thought we ran the ball well. We didn’t throw it a whole lot because we didn’t necessarily need to. Overall I thought it was a pretty good performance.”

Defensively, the Braves limited Benson to 128 yards of total offense while also forcing two turnovers. The Techmen ran 22 times for 59 yards (2.7 yards per attempt) and completed just 6 of 19 pass attempts.

“Defensively I thought we played really well,” Buchanan said. “We didn’t give up much, and fundamentally I thought we played a pretty good ballgame.

“Our defense is looking really good so far. They’re going to keep us in some ballgames this year. That’s huge because there will be certain weeks where it takes us a little bit longer to get our offense going, so it’s nice to know we can lean on those guys to keep us in it.”

Banks (3-0) will likely get more of a challenge this week against La Salle, the 2011 state champion and a perennial playoff qualifier. The Falcons are off to a 1-2 start so far this season and are coming off an ugly 43-7 loss to Philomath.

“It’s going to be a tougher test this week against La Salle,” Buchanan said. “They usually have a pretty good football team.”

Friday’s game will be the Braves’ final tune-up before beginning Cowapa League play on Sept. 27 against rival and league favorite Scappoose. The Indians are off to a 3-0 start this season with convincing wins over Roosevelt, Estacada and Rainier.

“How’s that for a start to league? Scappoose is a really good football team. That will be a huge test for us,” Buchanan said. “I think we’ll find out pretty quickly how we stack up against them and the rest of the league, but things are looking good so far.”