Welcome to the Tyler Rogers Show.
In his final regular season game, and playing at home, Rogers, a 6-3, 190 pound senior, played a part in Peoria Liberty’s first five touchdowns, and then guided his team to a convincing 47-26 victory over Glendale Cactus in a Division III game.
By the time the game reached a minute into the final period, Rogers had run for three touchdowns and thrown for two more. In the process, he finished an 18-for-26 night, 226 yards and those two scores through the air. Plus, he topped Liberty in ball carries with 17 and gained 69 yards on the ground.
“Our execution was strong and we stuck to the keys and reads,” Rogers said. “We had a few guys injured and everyone stepped it up. There was a lot of energy on the bench and we fed off of that. We wanted this game badly.”
Coming off a 26-0 loss to Goodyear Desert Edge two weeks ago, Liberty appears have regained the touch in which the team averaged 56.7 points per game in its first seven games.
This time, Liberty (9-1) fell behind when Cactus’ Jaylon James scored on a 5-yard touchdown run with 8 minutes remaining in the opening quarter. Then, Liberty scored the next four times they touched the ball.
First, Rogers hit Marcus Beckles on a 7-yard touchdown strike with 6:07 left in the first quarter. James then put Cactus back on top 13-7 with a 14-yard touchdown run with 2:05 left in the first quarter.
That’s when Rodgers took command.
First, he found Brandon Murphy down the right sideline and hit the senior wide receive in stride with a perfect fade behind the defense. The result was a 45-yard touchdown strike, and then Rogers scored on two touchdown runs of a yard each. By the time he scored his third touchdown on a 4-yard run with 7:22 left in the third quarter, Liberty was cruising by 22 points.
“We have not seen this type of execution in a few weeks,” Liberty coach Dan Filleman said. “It was good to see because we had a 3-and-out to start the game, but the guys really picked it up.”
Plus, Filleman saw an encouraging sign.
“We have rebounded well since the Desert Edge game,” he added. “In the past few games, we showed good signs of growth and maturity.”
For the game, Liberty amassed 394 yards of total offense. Completing Rogers’ effort, sophomore running back Connor Masood led Liberty with 118 yards on the ground on 14 carries, including an 8-yard touchdown run with 5:47 left in the game.
Liberty’s final score came on Jacob Walters’ a 61-yard interception return for a touchdown with 4:54 remaining in the final quarter.
Austin Marshall topped Cactus (7-3) in rushing with 48 yards on 14 carries, while James added 45 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns.