BENSON — The countdown is on.
The Benson Bobcats open the prep football season at home Friday night, hosting the San Manuel Miners before what no doubt will be a raucous crowd at the Jerry P. Lee Athletics Complex. Kick off is set for 7 p.m.
The Bobcats are on the small side, according to head coach Chris Determan. The Bobcats’ are fast and formidable in the backfield with seniors quarterback Talon Palmer and running backs D’Ondre Villalobos and Carson Barney bringing a wealth of experience. Team captains who will guide the way are Palmer, Barney, Remington Thola, who will line up tight end and defensive end, and offensive lineman and linebacker Colton McFarland.
But it all starts up front, Determan points out, noting it will be of little significance if the offensive and defensive lines are not up to task.
“It doesn’t matter who carries the ball, it’s who gets it done up front,” the coach said. “Those men will anchor us on both sides of the ball and do the dirty work with not many accolades, except from the players and coaches. On defense we’ll look for leadership from all over. All kids will have to play well!”
Discipline is one thing Determan and assistant coaches Chris Taylor, Pete Tamez and Alex Montijo will be asking of the Bobcats. A controlled scrimmage last week resulted in too many penalties, said Determan. The Bobcats will also “work on staying low and being aggressive up front and fly on defense.”
The Bobcats will need for the large arsenal of underclassmen to step up if they’re to be playing late November football, notably sophomores Devin Bowling, Jace Barney, Tristan Martinez, Brok Determan, Mundo Esparza Jimmy Lerblance and Cameron McFarland, the coach said, noting each would be “...called upon to make contributions in many different ways.”
Following the season and home opener the Bobcats are on the road over the next pair of games. The Bobcats travel to Morenci Sept. 6 and are at Santa Rita in Tucson on Sept. 13. Each contest is set for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
The Bobcats align in the 2A San Pedro Section along with Bisbee, Santa Rita, Tombstone and Willcox.
The Bobcats close the season hosting Willcox Nov. 1 in the Seney-Lohman game.