The Peoria Panthers are this week’s Tire Pros High
School Team of the Week after wrapping up a 10-0 regular-season with a 28-21 victory over rival Cactus.
Akeem Rutledge’s 4-yard touchdown run enabled the Panthers to rally from a 21-20 deficit and wrap up the Division III Section 1 championship. The victory capped a big turnaround for the Panthers, who were 4-6 a year ago.
“These kids wanted to finish what they had started and they kept battling all game,” Peoria head coach Will Babb told the Glendale Star. “This was a great game and to beat a team like (Cactus), this is just an amazing game to win.”
Peoria remains ranked No. 5 in the Varsity Xtra Division III rankings and enters the state playoffs at the No. 5 seed. The Panthers open the playoffs on Friday with a home game against Bradshaw Mountain
Other teams under consideration were Mesquite, Morenci, Northwest Christian, Cienega, Saguaro, Sunnyslope, Sahuarita, Tempe Prep and Bagdad.