SOUTHERN, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Benson had been nothing short of perfect this season.
But the top-seeded Bobcats ran into a roadblock Saturday afternoon in the Division V state title game. No. 2 Joy Christian made the most of four Bobcat turnovers for a 27-7 victory.
Benson took an early 7-0 lead in the second quarter on a 2-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Nick Hernandez, but the the Eagles got more from their one-two combination of quarterback Matt Mitchell and wide receiver Dujuan Lawrence.
The pair connected on three touchdowns. Mitchell also ran for a touchdown as Joy Christian won their first ever 11-man football championship.
Benson (13-1) claimed back-to-back state titles in 1954 and 1955 but a win Saturday would have given the school its first crown in 11-man football.
Joy Christian (14-0) exploded for 20 second-half points on it way to the crown.
No. 6 Centennial 28, No. 4 Desert Ridge 16
Saguaro 38, Marcos de Niza 20
Desert Edge 29, Paradise Valley 27
No. 8 Northwest Christian vs. No. 3 Pusch Ridge, 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28 (NFHS Network)
Joy Christian 27, Benson 7
Pima 59, Superior 32