Senior Graysen Partain accounts for five touchdowns in a 38-14 win over Benson

Banks isn’t quite a well-oiled machine just yet, but the Braves were sharp enough to hang a 38-14 beatdown on Benson Friday night.

Banks is still looking to get its vaunted run game going, with 1,000-yard rusher Dakota Kemper nursing an ankle sprain, but senior quarterback Graysen Partain jump-started the offense on Friday with three passing touchdowns and a pair of 85-yard kickoff returns to account for all five scores.

“It’s a combination of his vision and his speed,” Banks coach Ben Buchanan said of Partain, who also had a 92-yard return touchdown last week against Sweet Home.

“He doesn’t juke. He’s going to hit it hard, and once he gets through that first level of defenders, he’s gone.”

Partain got the scoring started in the first quarter with a 3-yard touchdown pass to wideout Zach Olsen, and after Benson scored to make it 7-6, Partain answered by returning the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown and a 13-6 lead.

The Braves added a safety in the second quarter courtesy of defensive lineman Chance Rondo, and Partain padded the margin with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Nolan Hill. Aaron Streblow kicked a 32-yard field goal just before halftime to give Banks a 24-6 lead at the break.

Partain twisted the knife on the other side of halftime, taking the second-half kickoff and streaking for another long touchdown, bumping the Braves’ cushion to 31-6 and essentially ending Benson’s comeback hopes. The senior quarterback would add one more score to his tally, tossing a 13-yard touchdown pass to Emmitt Vandehey in the third quarter that made it 38-6.

Partain finished 15-for-18 passing for 204 yards and three touchdowns. Olsen had six receptions for 114 yards.

Despite the lopsided score, Banks (2-1) only rushed for 103 yards as a team, and Kemper had just five carries before being shut down at halftime to nurse his injured ankle.

“It’s been a weird year. I hate to say it this way, but our special teams has taken our offense off the field quite a bit, so it’s been hard because we haven’t been able to get these guys as many reps as we’d like,” Buchanan said. “Still, I’ll take it. Special teams is taking pride in what they’re doing, and the guys up front are doing their jobs.”

Kemper, who has rushed for 2,640 yards and 41 touchdowns in the last two seasons, has carried the ball 19 times for 66 yards so far this year, and the Braves have only one rushing touchdown in three games.

“Dakota hasn’t gone off yet. He’s nursing an ankle sprain and he hasn’t been the Dakota of old,” Buchanan said. “But we’ve been trying to rest him and we’re hoping to get him ramped up this week.”

The Braves will need to get their offense firing on all cylinders with La Salle (1-2) coming to town on Friday. The Falcons went 14-0 last year en route to a Class 4A state championship, and they return a number of key players from that team.

“They’re a talented team and they’re very sound fundamentally,” Buchanan said. “They’ve had a tough pre-season schedule and I think they’re struggling to gel right now too. They’re going to be hungry for a win when they come here.”

La Salle is led by dual-threat quarterback Mark Holenstein, the 2011 Tri-Valley Conference Player of the Year, who compiled 2,700 yards of total offense and 34 touchdowns during the Falcons’ title run last year.

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