EAGAR — The Bobcats’ football season came to a heartbreaking end Friday in the quarterfinals of the 2A State Championship.
In the end, the Bobcats just could not upend the top-ranked Elks in the 36-14 loss in the Round Valley Dome. The Bobcats end the season 8-4 overall, two of those losses to Round Valley.
“We just made too many mistakes and penalties in the wrong spots. They’re a good team and you can’t have that against a good team,” said Benson coach Chris Determan. ““But I’m proud of our guys… they played hard and didn’t quit. Our seniors are phenomenal… they did a great job. Bobcat Football is better because they were a part of our program, their leadership and their dedication has meant a lot to our program. ”
Round Valley’s 16 first-quarter points put the Bobcats in an early hole they could not overcome.
Kicker Sergio Camunez booted a 26-yard field goal to put the Elks ahead 3-0 with 8:29 left in the first quarter, and put another six points on the board after a fumble recovery in the endzone off a quarterback sack. The PAT kick attempt failed.
The Bobcats, behind strong running from senior Carson Barney, were able to move the ball against the Elks, but an interception late in the quarter set up Round Valley’s next TD, a 1-yard run by Marc Irigoyen and the PAT kick by Camunez. A 22-yard run on a quarterback keeper late in the second quarter and the PAT kick put the Elks comfortably ahead 23-0 with under two minutes left in the first half.
Running out of their hurry-up offense, Jace Barney scored the Bobcats’ first and only touchdown of the first half on a 2-yard plunge with 11 seconds remaining in the half to cap a 64-yard drive. Carson Barney ran in the two point conversion but Benson trailed 23-8 at the half.
The Elks scored again with 7:23 left in the third quarter while Talon Pamer, on a quarterback keeper, scored the Bobcats second and final touchdown of the game just as play began in the fourth quarter. With the game firmly in control, Round Valley scored again on a long quarterback keeper to seal the deal.
It was a tough loss for the Bobcats which came in the second round of the state playoffs and in week 13 of the high school football schedule.
Seniors Carson Barney and Talon Palmer talked of the “brotherhood” that is Benson football.
“It’s hard… it was a hard fought season… We’ve been playing football together since we were 5 years old,” said Barney. “
Talon Palmer echoed those sentiments.
“It’s super rough… I’ve been playing football with these guys since I was 5 years old… It’s hard that it’s over playing with my brothers... Friday nights together, every day at practice, grinding, all the time we got to spend together… long bus rides… it’s rough that it’s all over,” said Palmer.
Carson Barney rushed for 131 yards on 28 carries and Palmer rushed for 73 yards and passed for 57 yards.