MARICOPA — The Sequoia Pathway Academy Pumas Friday night had three interception returns for touchdowns in the fourth quarter against the Tucson Tanque Verde Hawks, leading then to an impressive 34-7 win.
Jyrie Gamble, who had three interceptions in the game, ran back two of them from 45 and 50 yards out, while Norlen Banks had his own pick six of more than 50 yards on the final play of the game.
The Pumas used two facemask penalties against the Hawks on their second drive of the game to score the only touchdown in the first half. The first half eight-play, 80-yard drive was capped off by a three-yard run up the middle by Tyshaun Mooney to stake the Pumas to a 6-0 lead.
On the previous drive, Hawks’ kicker Brian Bergheim had his 28-yard field goal attempt blocked, resulting in the Pumas taking over at their own 20-yard line.
The Hawks appeared to be ready to take the lead, but from the Pumas’ two-yard line Banks sacked Quarterback Brandon Ganem for an eight-yard loss.
The Hawks finally took the lead on its first possession in the second quarter when Ganem on a fourth and 10 found Sam heady on a 30-yard slant to take the lead 7-6.
On the ensuing kickoff Lacey raced down the right sideline for a 65-yard touchdown to to regain the lead for the Pumas, 14-7.
The play of the first half was Pumas’ quarterback William Webber connecting with Lacey on a 35-yard bomb. but six plays later the Pumas turned the ball over on downs.
With less than four minutes left in the half, Gamble stepped in front of Ganem’s pass and returned it 45 yards for the clinching score that put the Pumas up 22-7
Both teams moved the ball past midfield several tines, but penalties and defensive plays stiffened to keep them from scoring.
Pumas Coach Donnie Margerum was pleased with how his defense stepped up.
“The defense put up a lot of points today,” he said, mentioning the four interceptions.
Even though the defense scored three times and Lacey scored on the kickoff return, Margerum said the offense did enough, as they opened the scoring on the 80-yard drive
He said Friday’s game was huge as far as playoff seeding goes.
The Pumas improved their record to 5-2 while the Hawks dropped to 4-3