Peoria runs over Cactus

By: 
DARRELL JACKSON, Staff Writer

Peoria running back Malachi Potee is brought down by Cactus’ Bryce Crawford in the second quarter.

Cactus running back takes a handoff and runs up the middle for a short gain against Peoria Oct. 26.

The battle for the West Valley between Peoria and Cactus took place for the 40th time Oct. 26 and Peoria used a pounding offense and held off a late Cobra push to hang on for a 37-31 victory at Peoria High School.
Juwaun Price took the opening handoff 74 yards for a touchdown and the Panthers never stopped running as price totaled 297 yards and five touchdowns in the win. Malachi Potee added 187 yards on the ground as the Panthers ended with 489 rushing yards as a team.
“It really was crazy because we didn’t know that was going to happen on that play,” Price said. “(Head coach Will Babb) called a 32 trap and I went up the middle and I waited for (offensive lineman Jacob) Golden to get in front of me. I was quick to read his block and all I saw was daylight in front of me. It felt good running the ball and knowing we couldn’t be stopped because our offensive line was executing and getting off the ball.”
Peoria head coach Will Babb told his team they could do something special in the annual battle against the Cobras.
“I told (Price) there has been some very big games by some great backs at this school and I told him, ‘Why not have the biggest game?’” Babb said. “(Potee) was a good football player last year but we were in a one-back set and there were only so many carries and he played great on defense. Truth be told, we moved to this offense to get him involved and to have both of them running the ball for us.”
Cactus struggled on offense early, as the Panthers defense forced a three-and-out on the Cobras’ first offensive possession. Two minutes later, Price broke three tackles and rumbled 16 yards and the Panthers were up 13-0 three minutes into the game.
Cactus was able to round in the first quarter and rode the back of their own running back, Anthony Flores had runs of nine and 13 yards to the Panthers’ 21-yard line.
On a fourth and 11, Flores rolled to his right and caught a short pass from quarterback Connor Cordts and raced into the end zone to cut the Panthers’ lead to 13-7 after the first quarter.
The two teams swapped touchdowns in the second quarter, giving Peoria a 27-19 halftime lead.
Cactus (7-3) took the third quarter kickoff and marched to their own 35-yard line, but a fumble by Cactus quarterback Cordts was recovered by Peoria’s Gabriel Ocampo, giving the Panthers the ball at the Cactus 30-yard line.
The Cobras’ defense was strong, forcing the Panthers to three downs and settling for a 19-yard field goal by Aziz Amirudin.
Cactus, trailing 30-19, marched down the field and cut the deficit when Zaach Cullop scored on a 29-yard touchdown run, but missed a two-point conversion and trailed 30-25 early in the third quarter.
Peoria (9-1) added one more touchdown in the third quarter and a Price
four-yard run with less than two minutes left in the third quarter, put Peoria up 37-25 heading into the fourth quarter.
On the first drive of the fourth quarter, Cactus marched down the field, getting to the Peoria 22-yard line when Flores launched a pass to Rylee Williams who came down with the ball. Three plays later, Flores marched five yards up the middle and the Cobras were within six points at 37-31.
The Panthers’ defense then held tough and the rushing game took over, controlling the clock as Peoria held on for the victory.
“It’s tough because that’s been the way we played all season as a couple of mistakes end up hurting us,” Cactus head coach Joe Ortiz said. “We haven’t reached our full potential yet, but we have shown some flashes, at the end of the day, we just haven’t done it yet. It’s frustrating, but we’ve still got a second season in the playoffs. Hopefully, we can put it together then.”
 

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Peoria Times

Peoria Times
7122 N. 59th Ave
Glendale, AZ 85301-2436
Ph: (623) 842-6000
Fax: (623) 842-6013

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