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BENSON — The Sequoia Pathway Pumas drew a tough matchup in the opening round of the 2A playoffs. Going up against reigning 2A state runner-up Benson, the Pumas did not back down to the challenge however and did their best to stay competitive against the strong Bobcats squad.

Ultimately, Benson was just too strong for the Pumas, taking the win and advancing over Sequoia Pathway 49-7.

The Pumas run heavy style clashed with a fellow run first team in the Bobcats, with running back Devin Bowling taking over the game.

“That is a tough team we just played, they ran that ball tough and they brought it to us,” Pumas head coach Donnie Margerum said. “Hats off to those guys, they came prepared and played really well.”

The Pumas tried to implement their game plan, but Benson took advantage and recovered an onside kick after their first score of the game, and getting out to an early 14-0 lead. Sequoia Pathway battled back however, with senior running back Tyshaun Mooney scoring a rushing touchdown of his own, cutting the lead to a one possession game.

Things would slowly start to unravel for the Pumas though, as Mooney would end up suffering a dislocated knee in the second and unable to return for the rest of the game.

Although the result was not what the team was hoping for, Margerum looked at this game as a great learning experience for his ball club, saying how this experience will only elevate the team going into next year.

“I think in the long run, this will be good for us to get some playoff experience for both myself and my boys,” Margerum said. “We have a good sophomore class that will be back next year. We will be back at it, we just have to learn from this.”

With the season now officially in the books for the Pumas, Margerum will now look forward to building up his underclassman core, especially with notable seniors like quarterback William Webber and running backs Tre Lacey and Mooney moving on from the program next year. He says he believes this upcoming class is really going to change the game for the Pumas next year.

“We have some really good pieces that are coming back next year to pair with some of our younger freshmen, so I think we will be right back at it next year and keep on building on what we got going here,” Margerum said. “I’m looking forward to getting back on the field next year with the experience that we have gained throughout this year, I think we have gained a lot of knowledge on how to play 2A ball, we just gotta get better.”

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David Church is a reporter covering Eloy, Arizona City and sports. He can be reached at dchurch@pinalcentral.com.

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