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Rams suffer first loss
The Antelope offense showed it had no trouble moving the ball against a bigger, physical opponent.
Winning the battle in the trenches on defense proved to be a little more difficult.
Bisbee rushed for 319 yards as a team, and its defense killed a potential game-tying scoring drive with an interception inside its own 20-yard line to hand the Rams their first loss of the season, 27-21, Friday at Antelope's Buckeye Field.
"The whole difference in the ballgame was we didn't tackle people when we needed to," Antelope coach John Blabe said. "We had young kids in new positions, and quite frankly, we didn't make the stops.
"The first half, we played a good half defensively and then we broke down. It wasn't because of where we were. It was about who wanted to hit somebody."
Trailing 21-14 on the opening drive of the fourth quarter, Antelope moved the ball to the Bisbee 10, but a sack and a run for a loss backed the Rams up to the 19, where the Pumas intercepted quarterback Chance Mixon's fourth-down pass in the end zone.
Bisbee needed seven plays before running back Thor Acuna punched in a 2-yard scoring plunge with 3:35 to play. Acuna ran for 200 yards on 19 carries.
"We're pretty big up front," Bisbee coach Truman Williamson said. "I like to run the ball and control the game clock."
The Rams got the ball back with good field position after a 47-yard kickoff return by Charles Fowler. Mixon hit Fowler with a 16-yard pass and then an 18-yard strike to Erick Hernandez to get the ball to the Bisbee 4. Aaron Skousen finished off the drive from there with a touchdown run with 39 seconds left.
Mixon passed for 155 yards and two touchdowns. His first TD came eight seconds into the second quarter on a 9-yard rollout to Devar Jamerson to tie the game at 7-all. He later found Erick Hernandez on a similar rollout for a 13-yard scoring strike to tie the game at 14 with 3:25 to play in the third quarter.
Jamerson caught four passes for 55 yards, and Hernandez had 102 total yards from scrimmage - 53 receiving and 49 rushing.
With the game still tied at 7-7, Antelope defensive back Tyler Claar picked prevented Bisbee from scoring just before the half, picking off a pass inside the 5-yard line.
"I need to put my best tacklers in a position where they can make the stop," Blabe said. "We just have to find those people that want to step up and hit, and that's just inexperience. We're in the right place at the right time and we missed them.
"They have a good ballclub and we accounted for ourselves well, so there's nothing I'm embarrassed about."