Queen Creek advances after routing Peoria

Queen Creek advances after routing Peoria

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Queen Creek advances after routing Peoria

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Offense wins games. Defense wins championships.

Vote: Which teams advance to the state finals?

That’s the motto Division III Queen Creek is taking through the playoffs, as it handled undefeated Peoria 42-14 in the quarterfinals Friday night at Queen Creek.

Queen Creek will meet top-seeded Gilbert Williams Field at Gilbert Campo Verde High next week in the semifinals with a return to the state championship game on the line.

“The past couple weeks we’ve had a mindset to not let the opposite team get past the 50-yard line,” Queen Creek senior defensive end Dejon Thompson said. “That’s our goal and we want to play smash-mouth football because we believe we’re the most physical team in the state of Arizona.”

Thompson and his defense backed it up on the field, holding Peoria’s potent offense to just 63 yards in the first half.

Just three of those yards were by running back Akeem Rutledge, who ran for 130 yards last week.

“We play fast up front and our kids just played hard tonight and kind of got after it,” Queen Creek coach Travis Schureman said.

On the offensive side of the ball, Queen Creek (10-2) had no problems. Or at least its running back didn’t.

Junior Weston Barlow ran the ball 17 times for 313 yards and four touchdowns.

“Last week I had a few turnovers and what not, but I put some really good work in this week and had some really good practices as a team,” Barlow said. “We came out, knew what we needed to do to execute, my line was there for us and we got things done.”

Queen Creek’s defense forced just one turnover all game, while holding Peoria to just one first down in the first half.

Peoria (11-1) senior quarterback Dillon Gragnano had to get rid of the football sooner than anticipated all night, feeling pressure on nearly every drop back. He would finish 14of27 for 143 yards.

Senior wide receiver and return man Darius Aguirre had little opportunity to do anything similar to his four-touchdown performance last week. He finished with eight catches for 109 yards and held out of the end zone.

“We didn’t really know what to expect of Peoria,” Schureman said. “…We felt if we came to play our game we’d be OK.

“Our kids really came out and played well tonight.”

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Queen Creek advances after routing Peoria
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