SOUTHERN, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Benson and Pusch Ridge Christian won Saturday night to give Southern Arizona two teams in the championship round of the state football playoffs.
A big interception late in the fourth quarter propelled top-seeded Benson to a 14-12 win over American Leadership and into the Division V title game.
Benson (13-0) will face No. 2 Joy Christian next Saturday in the finale. The game, which will be broadcast by NFHS Network, is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. at Chaparral High School.
The Bobcats were ahead 14-12 and driving late in the fourth quarter. But the Patriots picked off a pass at their own 13-yard line to get one last chance.
American Leadership then drove down and got into the redzone with big pass plays.
But Benson ended that threat with an interception with just over a minute to go.
American Leadership got on the board first when Dallin Edwards completed a 14-yard touchdown pass near the end of the first quarter. The Patriots missed the point after attempt and lead only 6-0.
Benson took a 7-6 lead midway through the second quarter on Nick Hernandez's 9-yard TD pass to Alex Hernandez.
The Bobcats jumped ahead 14-6 on the next possession when Brandon Laird stepped in front of a pass and returned it 55 yards for the score.
The score stayed that way until late in the fourth quarter when Edwards scrambled for a 57-yard touchdown. American Leadership missed the point-after attempt for the second time and Benson held a 14-12 lead.
The Pusch Ridge Lions were down but never out and now they are in the state championship game
Tamerat Mcleod nailed a 24-yard field goal in overtime to lead fourth-seeded Pusch Ridge to a 17-14 win over No. 7 Lake Havasu in a Division IV semifinal.
James Raica also came up big for Pusch Ridge. The senior middle linebacker picked off a pass from Lake Havasu's Jack Warner on the second play of overtime to set up Mcleod's winning kick.
Lake Havasu led most of the game after going up 14-0 early in second quarter but the Lions kept fighting.
With 5:11 left in the first half, Racia scored on a 3-yard run to cut the lead to 14- 7.
With just over four minutes left in the third quarter, Mitch Moss ran it in from 1 yard out to tie it at 14-14
The Lions will play in their first state title game next week against No. 8 Northwest Christian-Snowflake, which advanced with a 23-12 win over second-seeded Snowflake. The Division IV championship game is scheduled for 6 p.m. next Saturday at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale. It will be broadcast by the NFHS Network.
Desert Ridge 24, Chandler 21
Centennial 31, Mountain Pointe 21
No. 6 Centennial vs. No. 4 Desert Ridge, 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27 (FOX Sports Arizona, NFHS Network)
Marcos de Niza 44, Skyline 37
Saguaro 55, Westview 14
No. 5 Marcos de Niza vs. No. 7 Saguaro, 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28 (FOX Sports Arizona, NFHS Network)
Paradise Valley 26, Sunnyslope 19
Desert Edge 34, Verrado 27
No. 1 Paradise Valley vs. No. 3 Desert Edge, 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 28 (FOX Sports Arizona, NFHS Network)
Northwest Christian 23, Snowflake 12
Pusch Ridge 17, Lake Havasu 14, OT
No. 8 Northwest Christian vs. No. 3 Pusch Ridge, 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28 (NFHS Network)
Benson 14, American Leadership 12
Joy Christian 41, Round Valley 20
No. 1 Benson vs. No. 2 Joy Christian, 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28 (NFHS Network)
Pima 59, Superior 32