Indications are victory, led by Long's 184 rushing yards, 3 TDs, will get Chillicothe home game next Thursday to start district playoffs

12 noon Saturday UPDATE

By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor

CHILLICOTHE «» The Chillicothe Hornets built a 20-0 lead against the St. Joseph: Benton Cardinals Friday night and went on to a 35-20 regular-season-ending triumph that apparently accomplished a much-sought goal.
Chillicothe hoped its Midland Empire Conference win would be enough to catapult it past Fulton, which lost to Kirksville Friday, and into fourth place in its Class 3 district's final regular-season standings.  As of midday today, indications on the Missouri State High School Activities Association website are that it had moved the Hornets into fourth place.

If CHS does finish fourth, which will not be certain until early to mid-evening Saturday, it would get to host Fulton in next Thursday's first-round District 6 battle of Hornets. If the numbers somehow change back in Fulton's favor, that game will take place at Fulton.

Friday night's game saw Chillicothe use its ground game to drive the ball down the field and score on the opening possession. Senior running back Walker Thomas, subbing for the injured DeEll Midgyett, made a nifty move at the line of scrimmage on a sweep of right end to break into the open for a 28-yards scoring run midway through the opening period to put the Hornets on top for keeps.
After Benton punted, the Hornets marched to the end zone again. A 9-plays (all runs) series covered 71 yards and was capped by the first of three Tyler Long scoring runs, this one behind good right-side blocking from the 17. Long unofficially would finish the night with 184 rushing yards on 31 carries.
When he scored from three yards out with 1:41 left in the first half, it was 20-0, Chillicothe.
At that point, CJ Reynolds replaced starter Dominic Hill at quarterback and the BHS offense gathered some steam.
A pass interference penalty and Dontae White's 19-yards sweep of right end got the ball inside the Chillicothe 25 and Reynolds' 9-yards scramble out the left side took it to the 15. White then slipped out of the backfield on the right side, caught Reynolds' short pass, and dodged his way to paydirt 24 seconds before halftime. Dakota Malotte's kick pulled Benton within 20-7 at intermission.
The Hornets, however, moved 62 yards in six plays with the first possession of the third period, Long's 1-yard run upping their lead to 28-6 with his conversion run.
White's 38-yards catch and run produced Benton's second score, but Tyler Clampitt hit Thomas with a 32-yards scoring strike only four plays later and it again was a 21-points game.
White scored on a 5-yards run one play after a 52-yards option pass from end Richard Bowen to Devon Burton, but the TD came with only two minutes left and Chillicothe ran out the clock.
Limited to 19 first-half rushing yards on three carries, White unofficially finished with 123 yards and a score on 15 attempts and three catches for another 53 yards and two scores.

Chillicothe finished with a 2-5 MEC mark. Benton went 0-9 overall.