Cactus v. Peoria

Old rivals meet once again in West Valley Region play

I got to this game early because everyone told me this would be a packed house…and it was. I got there at 6:10 and had to park across the street in the neighborhood and walk to the stadium. The stadium was full by 6:15 and this turned out to be an exciting game.




Neither team mustered much offense on their first series and each punted the ball away.


Cactus defensive end Zach Minter came up with a huge fumble recovery after a 12 yard run by Rashad Yarbrough and gave the Cobras the ball near midfield.


Cactus methodically moved the ball down field with RB Mike Brown and shirt passes from Jake Moreno. A 15 yard face mask put the Cobras in scoring range and Brown punched it in from 1 yard out to put Cactus up 7-0 near the end of the 1st.


Both defenses held tough and forced punts after short drives.


On Cactus' second drive of the 2nd quarter, Brown popped off a 79 yard touchdown run to make it 14-0.


Other than a 20 yard run by Jamal Miles, Peoria was held in check on their next possession and the Cobras went right back to work. Brown scored again 6 plays later on a 2 yard plunge. The drive was highlighted by a 20 yard Moreno run. The score was now 21-0 and in danger of getting ugly.


An interception by Cactus' Kandon Thomas thwarted Peoria's drive right before the half. Ezra Sanchez went for 17 and Miles added 10 more and a 15 yard personal foul gave Peoria some life right before half, until the pick by Thomas.


At the half it was 21-0 all Cactus. Other than a few runs by Sanchez and Miles, Peoria was held in check.


I think Coach Clapp laid into his guys at half because they started the second half with some fire.


The defense forced a punt and the offense marched the ball 60 yards in 8 plays to get the panthers back in the game. This drive was all Ezra Sanchez. He had 5 carries for 23 yards including the TD. 21-7 early third.


The Peoria D forced a three and out but Demetrius Wilson muffed the punt and Cactus recovered at the 38 yard line. Four plays later, Jake Moreno punched it in from 1 yard out to make it 28-7. And that is how the third quarter ended.


Peoria would not die and the panthers went on a long drive to start the fourth. Several flags and a 37 yard Vinne Spano to Jeremy Dang pass and catch had Peoria in scoring position. The drive stalled on 4th down when Sanchez was stopped shy of the first.

Peoria's D continued to play well and forced another three and out giving them the ball at midfield. Spano hooked up with Dang for 19 and with TE Jeff Dwyer for 17 yards to get them in the redzone. Two plays later, Sanchez scampered in from 14 yards out. The score now was 28-14 midway through the 4th.


Peoria's D would bend but not break and forced a punt after a short drive. LB Mike Rodriguez came up with a huge stop on 3rd down to force the punt.


Deep in their own territory after another muffed punt, Peoria came out slingin'. Spano hit Wilson for 16, Dwyer for 17, Sanchez had runs of 13 and 22 and Miles scored from 11 yards out with a minute to go. Miles added a 2 point conversion to make the score 28-22.


Cactus ran the ball with all intentions of running the clock out. Peoria played tough though and forced a punt and got the ball back with 7 ticks on the clock left. But with the ball at their own 29, the game was essentially over. Spano hit Dang for 15 yards but the clock ran out.


Final Cactus 28  Peoria 22




Cactus played very well in the first half. They are very disciplined, don't turn the ball over or commit many penalties. Mike Brown is a stud. His 79 yard run was spectacular.


Peoria just couldn't muster much up in the 1st half. The turnover after the punt was huge. It went from 21-7 with them having momentum to 28-7 in matter of seconds. It still think Peoria is a very dangerous team. Their RB tandem is as good as any in the state. They have the ability to throw the ball and play some tough D. I do think Miles needs to get the ball more.


Game Ball


Definitely goes to Mike Brown, he scored 3 of Cactus' TDs.  

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