Natchitoches Central clawed by Benton Tigers in Homecoming game; School mourning loss of #12, Robert Walker

52 is sophomore DL Gavin Hoffpauir and in the middle of the action is senior #10 Jeremiah Miles RB. Eric Wilson/RTSS

BethAnne Methvin
The Natchitoches Central Chiefs faced the Benton Tigers for their homecoming match last Friday, Oct. 7 at Turpin Stadium. Natchitoches Central football players, along with students, honored football player #12, Robert Walker, with T-shirts and banners. Walker, 16, who was in a fatal UTV accident two weeks ago, was a beloved member of the team and will be missed by his coaches, teachers and friends at Natchitoches Central.
Football trainer Molly Durbin says, “It’s been difficult on us as a whole, we loved Robert, but it makes me happy to see everyone together thinking about him. We just want his family to know that he isn’t forgotten. Forever #12.”
The Chiefs turned to Benton with heavy hearts, as this was the first game they would be playing without him. Central knew the Tigers would be a difficult opponent, falling 35-15 to them last year.
Benton scored an 80-yard rushing touchdown on the first play of the game. A failed kick left the score 6-0. The Chiefs quickly made a comeback with senior running back Jeremiah Miles scoring a 72-yard rushing touchdown. A successful kick put the Chiefs in the lead 7-6. Unfortunately, the lead was short-lived.
The Tigers scored three more touchdowns within the first quarter, all with successful kicks, ending the first quarter 27-7, Benton. The second quarter didn’t fare much better for the Chiefs, with three more Tiger touchdowns followed by another Chief touchdown by Miles. Miles scored the two-point conversion to follow. With seconds left in the quarter, Benton scored the last touchdown, a 43-yard pass to Andy Lim, and a successful kick. Halftime began with the score 55-15, Benton.

With halftime came the Natchitoches Central Homecoming festivities. Court members Nyla Helaire, Makenzie Rachel, Jazmine Booker, Zelia Frazier, Arianna Armstrong, Kamia Pichon-Andrews, Madison Robinson, Bailey Newlee and Queen Makira Carpenter were escorted and presented.
Resuming play, the Tigers came out with a slightly different lineup and less speed. The third quarter saw the final touchdown of the game, a 15-yard rushing touchdown by the Tigers, followed by a complete kick, ending the match 62-15, Benton.
The Tigers improved their record to 3-3, while the Chiefs dropped to 2-4. Looking forward, the Chiefs challenge Captain Shreve High School in an away, non-district match Friday, Oct. 10.