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Bobcats top undermanned Tombstone

TOMBSTONE — Visiting Benson was too much for outnumbered and overmatched Tombstone Friday in 2A prep football.

The sixth-ranked Bobcats scored on every possession in the first half against the undermanned Yellow Jackets.

“We’re 15 strong,” Tombstone coach Jerry Rhoades told his team, huddled near the goalpost at the conclusion of the 2A region game, referring to the team’s small roster. “You have nothing to be ashamed of.”

The loss, the fifth consecutive, drops Tombstone to 1-5 overall, 0-1 in the region, while the Bobcats, on the opposite end of the spectrum, improved to 5-1 overall, 2-0 in section play. Benson’s lone defeat is a 34-12 loss to defending 2A state champion Thatcher.

“We made seven bad plays in the first half that gave them either scores or great field position, and they scored six touchdowns off those seven plays. So basically we spotted them 36 points … that’s kind of been our Achilles Heel all year long,” Rhoades said.

Despite lack of sustained consistency the coach was able to find a silver lining. “Hey… they came out and fought hard — we only have 15 guys. They didn’t quit and that’s been our thing, it’s kind of like us against the world so to speak, and they keep showing up every week... I couldn’t be more proud of them,” Rhoades said.

Tombstone was limited to 57 yards total offense, all on the ground.

Jacob Bonilla gained 50 yards on 18 carries while also recording six tackles and four assists to go with three kick returns for 73 yards.

In control for the duration Benson scored 19 second-quarter points to add to its 27-0 first quarter lead. Quarterback Talon Palmer connected with Diego Nikitas on a 27-yard pass play a minute into the game for Benson’s first touchdown.

Barney, on his only carry of the game, scored from 18 yards out on the Bobcats’ ensuing possession.

An errant long snap over the punter’s head led to D’Ondre Villalobos’ six yard run with 3:36 left and the Bobcats scored again on Nick Redmond’s 19-yard run with just under two minutes. Barney’s 83-yard punt return and PAT kick put Benson up 34-0. Jace Barney, on a two-yard plunge, and Devin Bowling, on a four-yard run, capped the Bobcat’s scoring night.

The Bobcats had 210 rushing yards and 60 passing yards with the starters out of the game in the second quarter.

Benson coach Chris Determan noted difficulty in putting a game like that in perspective. “Some of our younger kids got a lot of playing time tonight,” the coach said. The Bobcats will prepare now for Round Valley who travel to Benson on Friday for a 7 p.m. game.

It won’t get any easier for Tombstone who strap it on again at Warren Ballpark Friday night against the Bisbee Pumas.

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