BENSON — The Bobcats scored 12 fourth-quarter points and took a late-game lead Friday, albeit briefly, before falling to host St. Johns 28-25 in a thrilling prep football game.

Carson Barney ran for three touchdowns and caught a touchdown pass to account for the Bobcats’ TDs. Barney ran for 253 yards on 14 carries, including a 75-yard scoring run, and Talon Palmer completed six of 17 pass attempts for 161 yards. Remington Thola had three catches for 92 yards as the Bobcats amassed 425 yards total offense.

Defensively, Devin Bowling had nine tackles and Barney eight to help lead the Bobcats.

It was a tight game throughout with each team holding the other when it needed. Tied at 7 at the end of the first quarter, the Bobcats trailed 14-7 at the half. Benson’s six points accounted for the only score in the third quarter before the Bobcats and Redskins combined for 26 points in the final 12 minutes of play.

Coach Chris Determan was pleased by the effort, particularly how the Bobcats fought Friday against the third top 10 team the Bobcats have faced this season with games with defending state champion Thatcher, No. 2 Round Valley, and No. 8 St. Johns accounting for the Bobcat’s losses. Benson topped then No. 8 Bisbee in their recent encounter with the Pumas and entered Friday’s contest holding the No. 9 ranking.

“Overall we played a good game,” commented Determan. “We had our chances to come away with a win but, overall, it was a hard fought, exciting game with a good opponent. We just came up short. “We will focus on getting better this week and will need to play a great game to come away with a win. Willcox is good, they play hard, and are scrappy and we’ll need to play well.”

The defeat drops the Bobcats to 6-3 overall. Benson remains 3-0 in region play, headed into Friday’s home game with rival Willcox at the Jerry P. Lee Athletics Complex with the Senney-Lohman Trophy on the line. It’s the regular season finale for both teams.

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