For the second time in three weeks, Cactus High defeated rival Peoria Highl.
In the 4A football quarterfinals Nov. 15, the speedy Cobras struck to a 34-7 win.
Making the win all the more impressive was that it took place at Peoria.
After allowing the Peoria Panthers a touchdown early in the first quarter, the Cactus defense muscled up and shut down Peoria. The Cobras rolled up 34 unanswered points to march to the semifinals.
Special teams came through as Antonio Pratt put Cactus on the board with a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown. Cactus blocked another Peoria punt for a safety.
Early in the third quarter, senior quarterback Conner Cordts connected on a 77-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Flaherty, as Cactus opened up a 24-7 lead.
The win was similar to one on Nov. 1, when the Panthers had the Cobras on the ropes early. Cactus High’s comeback was more dramatic two weeks before, as the Cobras trailed 14-0 at the half.
Cordts rallied Cactus in the second half Nov. 1. The Cobras scored 20 unanswered points, including 14 in the fourth quarter. Cordts delivered the knockout punch with a 55-yard touchdown pass to take the lead in the waning minutes of the game.
When the two met again in the highly-anticipated quarterfinals, Cactus’ lockdown defense dialed it up. The defense, led by defensive coordinator Brian Belles, has held opponents under 14 points in four straight games.
That defense and an explosive offense look to push for a state championship.
Next up, the 10-2 Cactus Cobras battle No. 6 Mesquite High of Gilbert at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22. The site of the semifinals game was not available at press time.