The No. 13-ranked San Manuel football team is in danger of missing the state playoffs following last Friday’s 50 – 34 loss against No. 21 Bisbee on Senior Night.
The Miners, who at one time this season appeared to be a lock to reach the playoffs, now face a likely must-win game this week versus undefeated and No. 4-ranked Santa Cruz, one of the favorites to win the 2A State Championship.
The top-16 teams earn playoff berths, and after their loss on Friday, the Miners might fall outside that group. Another loss to the Dust Devils would almost definitely leave San Manuel on the outside looking in.
On Friday night, the Pumas limited San Manuel running back and Player of the Year candidate Christian Velasquez to a season-low 80 yards rushing. The Pumas defense also had five sacks, two interceptions and a fumble recovery as further evidence that their defense slowed the high-scoring Miners’ offense.
Sophomore Benny Laguna led the Miners with 211 all-purpose yards and a pair of touchdowns – one rushing and one receiving. Velasquez, Bridger Davis and Caleb Quintero also rushed for scores.
Laguna, Julian Rodriguez and Michael Ochoa each finished with a team-high 13 tackles on defense.