Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Bisbee senior David Ballesteros was stopped for a short gain, but broke free for a 46-yard score with 4:19 left in the third quarter. The three-play drive took 57 seconds and was the Pumas’ initial second-half score. Morenci sent the Pumas home with a 32-26 loss Sept. 27.
By Raymundo Frasquillo
NEW MEXICO – The Joseph Garcia-coached Wildcats travel to the “Land of Enchantment” for a contest with the Bayard Cobre Indians on Saturday, Oct. 5.
Cobre has been outscored by an average of 32-11 (158-56) or a 21-point margin. The losses were 34-14 to Robertson (Aug. 30), 49-7 to Silver (Sept. 11), 50-0 to Deming (Sept. 20), and 25-19 in five overtimes by Texas Fabens (Sept. 27). The Indians’ lone win was 16-9 over Chaparral (Sept. 7).
Morenci (3-2) has been outscored by an average of 22-20 (109-100) per game or a 2-point margin. The wins are 42-0 over Tucson Santa Rita (Aug. 30) and 14-6 over Willcox (Sept. 12), both on the road plus 32-26 at home over Bisbee (Sept. 27). The losses are 49-7 to Benson (Sept. 6) and 28-7 to Santa Cruz (Sept. 20).
Morenci – 32, Bisbee – 26
It was their 54th homecoming game and the Wildcats were 8-7 versus the Pumas as a 2A school, 6-3 with an average score per game of 23-14 (208-124) or a 9-point margin in Lawson Stadium.
A 6-point margin, 32-26, held up for Morenci’s initial home win in three tries, as an interception allowed the Wildcats to run down 1:38 left on the clock and take a knee. An illegal formation on an interception did not stand as Morenci was allowed to keep the ball, thwarting a Bisbee comeback attempt. The Pumas needed 55 yards for a score with 2:30 remaining, gained 16 in three plays, and were intercepted.
Morenci senior Carlos Bray returned the second half kick-off 80 yards to break a 12-12 deadlock. Bisbee fumbled after gaining seven yards in two plays using 1:50.
The Wildcats marched 44 yards in eight plays using 4:26. Senior quarterback Brandon Blair capped the drive with a 1-yard plunge, doubling the score, 24-12, with 6:35 elapsed in the third quarter.
However, the deficit was pared 57 seconds later, covering 60 yards in three plays. Bisbee senior David Ballesteros broke free for a 46-yard scoring run.
Morenci advanced to the 3-yard line, gaining 55 of 58 needed yards, but was thrown for a 3-yard loss on 4th-and-goal, turning the ball over on downs.
Bisbee took a 26-24 lead with a 94-yard drive in 14 plays plus a 15-yard penalty using 5:23. Senior quarterback B.J. Wright crossed the goal line from a yard out and Ballesteros added the conversion run. The Pumas led with 5:06 left to play.
Morenci responded with a 68-yard drive in four plays using 2:33. Bray gained two yards, junior Maddux Martinez hauled down a Blair aerial for 55 yards, Blair gained seven yards, and senior Matthew Harrington bulled in from five yards out. Harrington added the conversion run for a 32-26 advantage.
On the night, Morenci gained 322 yards, 267 on 43 carries and 55 on a pass reception.
Blair (10-67) and Bray (15-101) both averaged 6.7 yards per carry, Lance “L.T.” Morey 6.0 (8-48), Harrington 5.1 (9-46) yards, and Martinez 5.0 (1-5) yards.
Through the air, Blair completed 1-3 passes for 55 yards plus an interception. Martinez caught the pass for 55 yards.