As anticipated, these long time rivals did not live down the hype of this game. Cactus went in led by a strong defense that was returning a majority of their starters and super running back Mike Brown. The Cobra D was looking to slow down the high-powered Panthers offense led by Vinne Spano, Jeremy Dang and Jamal Miles.
Peoria won the coin-toss, but chose to defer, and gave Cactus the ball. They opened their drive with an 11 yard Mike Brown run and kept coming back to him. However Peoria's defense was bending but did not break and forced Cactus to score with a Tim Bryan field goal to take the early 3-0 lead.
It didn't take long for Peoria to answer as Miles hit the corner, turned the boosters on and scored on a 76 yard run to put Peoria up 6-3 after a missed PAT. Cactus drove down and kicked another field goal to knot the score at 6.
A tough Cobra pass rush forced Spano to make a bad throw that was picked off by CB Kandon Thomas. But in a turn of events, Cactus did not capitalize on the turnover. Mike Brown had the ball knocked loose and Peoria's Steven Trujillo scooped up the loose ball and scored a defensive touchdown for the Peoria Panthers with 1:07 remaining in the first half.
Cactus and Brown were able to answer back and it took less then 30 seconds to do so. QB Brody Ray hit Brown over the middle and he raced in for a score with :48 seconds left. The score at half was 13-13.
Both teams came out fired up to start the second half. Peoria got the ball but was forced to punt. The Peoria D came out and forced a turnover. CB Jeremy Sawyer picked off Ray's pass and the Panther's capitalized on a red-zone TD pass from QB Vinnie Spano to WR Jeremy Dang to put the Panthers up 20-13.
Cactus kicked another field goal to make it 20-16 and caught Peoria sleeping with an onside kick that was recovered by the Cobras. However Aaron Montoya came up huge, picking off Ray which led to a Spano to Kenry Robinson TD pass with little time left on the clock. Montoya picked off another pass to put the nail in the coffin. Final 27-16 Peoria over Cactus.
Without a doubt, two of the most dominant backs in the state were on the field tonight. Both went well over 100 yards, Miles over 200. Brown who went off early in the game was held in check for the 2nd half. Turnovers ended up haunting Cactus in the end.
Peoria RB Jamal Miles showed that he is more then just a speed back. He showed some toughness that I have not seen from him before. He rushed for over 200 yards and punished some defenders after his runs. He battled through some cramps and played corner as well.