With his team entering halftime tied 10-10 with Glendale Cactus in its first-round playoff game Friday, Queen Creek coach Travis Schureman knew exactly what his squad’s biggest problem was.
“Shooting ourselves in the foot,” he said.
Queen Creek committed three turnovers in the first half, including an interception that was returned for a touchdown and a fumble that led to a Cactus field goal. But No. 4 Queen Creek was near flawless after intermission, outscoring visiting No. 13 Cactus 28-0 in the second half to come away with a 38-10 victory.
“We pretty much gave them those 10 points,” Schureman said. “We talked about fixing the little things and taking care of the ball and doing what we’re capable of doing. We weren’t in panic mode. We just knew if we stayed the course, we’d be fine.”
Queen Creek (9-2) advances to the DivisionIII quarterfinals, where it will face No.5 Peoria next Friday.
Queen Creek’s defense carried it against Cactus (6-5), intercepting quarterback Preston Guerra three times in the second half and allowing just the field goal for the game.
The 10-10 tie didn’t last long as Queen Creek scored twice in the first six minutes of the third quarter to make it 24-10, and Cactus was powerless on offense from there.
“It was great to see,” Schureman said of his defense. “We got back to basics the last couple weeks, and we flew around and played great defense tonight.”
Running back Weston Barlow scored three times on the ground for Queen Creek, atoning for his two first-half fumbles. He finished with 139 yards rushing on 27 carries.
“The first half was kind of on me,” Barlow said. “Coaches talked to me, and I knew what I needed to do differently. I was just happy that my team had my back and we were able to execute better in the second half.”
Queen Creek quarterback Bryce Dobbs completed 8 of 11 passes on the night, finishing with 176 yards.