Baumgarte’s record-tying night leads Benton past Pinckneyville

Darren Kinnard

BENTON — Benton senior Reid Baumgarte had already stuffed the stat sheet in the first half of the Rangers’ 53-0 win over Pinckneyville before adding a state record in the final seconds of the half.

Baumgarte grabbed a tipped pass in the back of the endzone for his third interception of the half and returned it 109 yards for his third touchdown of the game. The 109-yard return ties the IHSA record set by Round Lake’s Kevin Parker back in 2002. It’s a record that can never be broken. Video replay shows Baumgarte tight-roping the end line, meaning his return was more like 109 yards two feet, 11 inches–but it officially goes down as a 109-yard return.

Earlier in the half, Baumgarte had hauled in two of Keegan Glover’s four first half touchdown passes. Glover added a fifth score on a 1-yard run.

For the Panthers, it was a tough way to start their season. Logan Spain’s debut as head coach was delayed when team had to pause all activities two weeks due to Covid protocols. Pinckneyville returned to practice Wednesday, and essentially had three days to prepare for the unbeaten Rangers.

The game was originally scheduled for Friday but was moved to Saturday. It was Benton’s annual Military Appreciation game. On the 20th anniversary of 911, the school not only honored veterans and those currently serving in the Armed Forces, but also first responders in a pregame ceremony. There was also a tribute to the 13 soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan a couple of weeks ago.

The Rangers (3-0) will open SIRR Ohio play Friday at Herrin. With the SIRR Mississippi only having five teams, the Panthers (0-1) will play another out of conference game Saturday when they will host Olney.