PHOENIX — The Benson Bobcats saw their season come to an end Saturday in a 20-7 loss to the Arizona Lutheran Academy Coyotes in the 2A state semifinals.

Benson was Cochise County’s last football team remaining in the postseason playoffs.

No. 2 seed Arizona Lutheran advances to the state championship game, facing fourth-seeded Morenci, which thumped top seed and previously unbeaten Parker 39-14 in the other semifinal game Saturday.

Benson’s defense did a good job of stopping ALA in the first quarter as Brok Determan and Angel Rigney had interceptions on back-to-back drives by the Coyotes.

The second interception was nullified by a penalty, which would dog the Bobcats the entire game.

“There were a couple of times where we had penalties that killed our drives,” Benson coach Chris Determan said. “We also made some penalties at crucial times that allowed them to keep their drives going.”

Devin Bowling’s 8-yard TD run in the second quarter broke a scoreless tie and Wyatt Wilharm’s extra point gave the third-seeded Bobcats a 7-0 lead.

On the ensuing drive ALA drove from its own 40 to Benson’s 1-yard line. The Bobcats held on a fourth-and-goal from the 1 to take a 7-0 halftime lead.

“Our kids did a great job right there,” Determan said. “That was a great goalline stand.”

Three Benson penalties on Arizona Luthern’s second possession of the second half allowed the Coyotes to maintain possession of the ball and score. The 2-point conversion attempt was stopped and Benson clung to a 7-6 lead after three quarters.

The Coyotes scored on a 25-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter and led 12-7. The Bobcats had a 15-yard personal foul penalty as well as an offsides call against them.

The Coyotes sealed the game by scoring with 3:29 remaining and converting the 2-point conversion for a 20-7 lead.

“It was (a tough loss),” Determan said. “We just didn’t get enough things going at one time. We have something going then we’d have a penalty and stall. We were just off the entire game.

“These guys have done great the last two seasons. They did a good job leading and doing some of the things that will only help this program get better. Overall I’m proud of our kids; proud of what they have done.

“I wish things would have ended differently this year for us. Everything has a plan whether it’s good, bad or indifferent. There is always a plan, a life lesson, in there somewhere. Hopefully we can figure out what it was and go on with what we need to do.”

Saturday was the last time Determan coached his son, Brok, who is graduating in May.

“It’s always special when you get to coach your own kids,” Determan said. “He’s a great kid. I look forward to seeing what’s down the road for him. He had a good season for us.”

Benson, champions of the San Pedro Region, ended the year 9-3 overall, 4-1 in region play.


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