Marion High School Athletics


Benton earns Brandon Burlsworth Award

Photo Credit: Londa Hamrick


To most Arkansans, the name Brandon Burlsworth inspires a sense of pride. So you could understand why anyone who earns the annual Brandon Burlsworth award, given to a student-athlete who is not only a good player on the field, but also exemplifies high moral character off the field, would feel honored and humbled. This year, Marion's Carter Benton was one of the recipients of the Brandon Burlsworth Award, as he caps an impressive three-year varsity career with one of the state's top honors. “I can't say enough how about proud we are of Carter, and how much he truly deserves this honor,” said Marion head football coach Lance Clark. “Carter was always one who performed on the field for us no matter his role. He was always fun to be around. He was friends with everyone on the team, and he was always willing to do what he could to help his teammates. He's the total package.” Benton started three seasons up front at Marion, anchoring an offensive line that helped the Pats average eight wins per season, and a state semifinal appearance in 2021. The senior two-time all-conference performer signed in February with Arkansas Tech. Burlsworth's legacy has lived on past his untimely death in the persona of the Brandon Burlsworth Award, given annually to a handful of standout players across the country. The award, which originated in 2004, “encourages the honoree to continue on his path of excellence, and inspires others to follow his lead,” said the award's website. Marion football coaches Odell Brown and Lavar Neal nominated Benton earlier this year, and Brown and Neal presented Benton with his award while he was being honored during the baseball team's Senior Night ceremony. “Carter is just good at everything he does,” said Clark. “He's played tackle, guard, and center for us at football, and he played them all well. He was a great deep snapper. He played injured, he played hard every snap. He's just a great example of a high school football player.” Benton is the first Marion football player to earn the Brandon Burlsworth Award.

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