Such was the case Friday night in Peoria as the host Coyotes (10-1) dispatched the Lions 24-10, advancing to the 5A quarterfinals to take on Desert Edge next week. The Scorpions handed the ‘Yotes their only loss of the season back in Week 1.
For whatever reason, the Lions (7-4) simply didn’t seem ready to play as evidenced by the first offensive snap of the game when Ruben Beltran heaved a pass deep down the sideline and Dominique Hampton raced untouched to the end zone for an 80-yard touchdown before some fans even made it to their seats.
The defense was the only issue for Mark Smith’s team. Liberty looked over matched at the point of attack up front and Richard Taylor’s swarming defense pitched a shutout late into the first half.
Already ahead 17-0, Liberty roughed kicker Xavier Rojas even after the attempt sailed wide. Just a few plays after the 15-yard infraction Beltran connected with Gleson Spreewell for six more and 24-0 lead after the PAT. The two passing touchdowns were a bit of a rarity for a team which loves to pound the ball behind their physical offensive line.
I suppose that’s the reason Taylor’s teams are so successful this time of year.