Pima took care of business Saturday, beating Bagdad 36-17 at Phoenix Sunnyslope High School to advance to the Division VI championship game.
Pima advances to the Division VI championship next week at Sunnyslope against Glendale Joy Christian.
Bagdad grabbed the first lead of the game with a field goal in the second quarter to make it 3-0, but Pima pulled away in a dominant second half, outscoring Bagdad 20-7 after the break.
The Pima rushing attack punished Bagdad repeatedly throughout the game, grinding out more than 350 yards rushing throughout the game and scoring rushing touchdowns with four different players.
Running back Jhett Judd was a standout, rushing for 183 yards and two touchdowns, with both scores and 144 yards coming in the second half.
Pima Coach Jace Hancock said his team always plays better after the half, giving them time in the locker room to make adjustments and come out stronger.
“We’ve always been a second-half team,” Hancock said. “We’ve got to get a feel for the game.”
Bagdad started out the game competitively, keeping the score to 16-10 at halftime and exchanging leads with Pima four times before the second half.
Quarterback Kendall Jeans was relentless all day, even in the face of constant pressure and a mounting point deficit.
Jeans finished the game with 168 yards and two touchdowns on 13 of 35 passing attempts and added 102 yards rushing.
Jeans was particularly impressive when he tossed a 54-yard touchdown to James Loveall with 4:12 left in the game.
He was leveled by a Pima defender, but managed to get the ball off and throw a perfect arc down the sideline for Loveall.
Pima quarterback Wyatt Reynolds had a tougher game, tossing two interceptions, but was a dual threat all day, helping to wear down the Bagdad defense with a rushing score of his own to make it 28-10 at the end of the third quarter.
Hancock said he is excited for his team to get a chance next week to play for the title.
“It feels wonderful,” Hancock said. “We missed the last year by this game so it’s good to have a chance to go all the way this year.”