BISBEE — Looking to bounce back from a disappointing loss to the Pima Roughriders the week before, the Benson Bobcats were in Bisbee Friday night. The Bobcats took control of the game early and left Warren Ballpark with a convincing 56-14 win over the Pumas on Military Appreciation Night.
“Our plan tonight was to get back to basics and let the kids come out and have some fun,” Benson coach Chris Determan said. “We wanted to establish our run game while at the same time mixing it up. I thought we did a good job of doing that.”
The Bobcats wasted little time showing Bisbee what it was in for, taking the opening drive of the game 65 yards in four plays that ended with an 18-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Brok Determan to Tristan Martinez 65 seconds into the game. Angel Rigney’s extra point put Benson in front 7-0.
Bisbee countered on its ensuing possession, driving from its own 15 to the Bobcats’ 42-yard line only to fumble the ball away. Five plays later Determan was in the end zone on a 1-yard quarterback keeper.
The Pumas put together an impressive drive on their next possession, advancing from their 35 to Benson’s 14. Faced with a fourth-and-nine, the Pumas opted for a field goal attempt by Camdem Miller. The snap was bad and the kick was blocked. Jimmy Lerblance scooped up the ball and ran it back 85 yards for a score, making Benson’s lead 22-0 following a successful 2-point conversion by Jace Barney.
Devin Bowling’s 5-yard TD run in the second quarter gave the Bobcats a 28-0 lead.
Pumas quarterback Sebastian Lopez later scored on a 1-yard keeper, making the score 28-6.
Bowling scoried on a 16-yard run late in the second quarter and Martinez’s 2-point conversion gave Benson a 36-6 lead at the half.
At halftime, Bisbee High School honored its military personnel past and present.
To begin the second half, Bisbee came out with an impressive 7½-minute drive that ended with turning the ball over on downs after being unable to convert on fourth and four.
Martinez later scored on a 30-yard run, giving the Bobcats a 42-6 lead.
Barney scored on a 12-yard run in the fourth quarter for Benson only to see Lopez counter with a TD and successful 2-point conversion for Bisbee making the score 50-14.
Benson sophomore quarterback Dalton Crockett scored the final points on a 10-yard run with 75 seconds remaining.
“I thought our kids played well,” Determan said. “They came back hungry from last week. This was a good bounce-back win for us.”
Barney had an unofficial nine carries for 120 yards and a touchdown; Bowling had 11 carries for 116 yards and two touchdowns; Martinez caught a TD pass from quarterback Brok Determan, who had both a passing and rushing touchdown.
Bowling said his front line did a good job opening up holes for his runs.
“I felt we were prepared coming into the game,” he said. “This was a good win for us. Hopefully we can keep it going.”
Bisbee coach Brian Vertrees said he knew Benson was an elite team and his Pumas were going to have to play mistake-free football to win.
“We didn’t do that,” Vertrees said. “We had some mistakes that hurt us especially early on, beginning with the mishandled snap on the field goal attempt which they blocked and scored on. We dug ourselves into a hole early.”
Vertrees praised his players for showing some fight against a really good Benson football team.
Benson, 4-2 overall, 1-1 in the 2A San Pedro Rregion, has an important showdown Friday night against a tough Morenci team (6-1, 2-0) that beat Bisbee 42-7 and spanked Tombstone 57-6 on Friday.
The Pumas (3-4, 0-2), are scheduled to be in Willcox this week. The Cowboys’ game with Pima was canceled due to COVID-19 protocol by Willcox.
Bisbee Athletic Director Tom Heck announced that the game at Willcox will be Saturday, Oct. 16, at 7 p.m.