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Benham powers Dinuba ground attack past Mission Oak

By Jeremy Berbereia
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For the second year in a row, Dinuba pulled away in the final quarter to defeat Mission Oak—this time on the road in front of the Hawks’ home fans, by the score of 31-21, on Friday in Tulare.

Last season, the teams met in Dinuba to open the season in a game that saw Dinuba come back and win in the final minute. This season, they met once again to open the season, this time however, they met under the lights of Bob Mathias Stadium in Tulare.

While both teams return their quarterbacks from a year ago—seniors Isaac Leppke for Dinuba and Trey McJunkin for Mission Oak respectively—both teams were looking to find running backs to replace those from last season who had graduated.

Dinuba did just that with 5-foot-9 senior Elijah Benham, who rushed for 146 yards tonight, including an eight-yard touchdown run. A good chunk of his yards, 64 in fact, and his only touchdown came in the crucial fourth quarter of the game that was tied 14-14 after three quarters. Benham would score from eight yards to give Dinuba a 21-14 lead.

After a 19-yard rushing td increased the Emperor lead to 28-14, Mission Oak would strike right back on an 86-yard pass and catch to get within 28-21 but Dinuba would tack on a late 23 yd field goal for the final score.

One bright spot for the Hawks tonight was the play of freshman Keshon Butler who had four receptions for 107 yards.

Mission Oak will look to get their first win of the 2015 season next Friday night when they host the Panthers of Washington Union, while the Emperors will host their home opener of the season against the Reedley Pirates.

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