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AZPreps365 Cornerby AIA365.com Staff
Recap - Apollo vs. PeoriaAug 24, 2012
Head coach Zack Threadgill and his Apollo Hawks played host to the Peoria Panthers under new head coach Will Babb. Threadgill expressed the need to execute, while Peoria was focused on improving their play since the first scrimmage. The Hawks defeated Peoria 57-40.
In the first 15 seconds of the game, Apollo’s Joey Cortez ran back the kickoff return for a touchdown to take the early 7-0 lead, but Peoria answered back with a kickoff return of their own from Ira Rojas, tying the game at 7. The Hawks scored in the first series of the game on a run up the middle by Nico Bayless to improve the score 13-7. Peoria punted on their next series and Apollo took over on Peoria’s 45-yard line. On 3rd and 8 quarterback Jordan Gungl connected with Abraham Mendivil for an 18-yard pass reception, but the Hawks were unable to find the end zone.
Peoria’s quarterback Dillon Gragnano watched a high-snap go over his head as Miles Smith of Apollo recovered. Bayless capitalized on the Panthers mistake and with one minute remaining in the first quarter, added his second touchdown of the game, increasing the Hawks lead 20-7.
On the next kickoff return, Rojas dropped the ball and Rodrigo Hernandez scooped it up. The next play Gungl connected with Braxton Nickerson on a 33-yard pass to take the 27-7 lead in the first quarter.
Gragnano scored again for Peoria on a 10-yard keeper and trailed 27-14. Apollo was unable to move the ball on their next possession and was forced to punt. Peoria’s Donavan Yabo was on the return and was taken down by a horse-collar tackle, which tacked on 15 yards to the end of the play. This set up good field positioning for the Panthers who scored on 4th and 10 on a pass completion to Rojas, to trail 34-21.
With less than four minutes left if the first half, Apollo’s Gungl connected with Cortez for his second touchdown of the game to increase their lead 40-21. Rojas put up a 22-yard kickoff return, before he found the end zone with 18 seconds left on the clock, trailing 41-27.
In the third quarter, Evan Ford came up with a big defensive play in the end zone to deny the touchdown, but Apollo’s Bayless ran in for the touchdown on the next play and led 47-27. Tyler Porter of Peoria picked Gungl at the start of the fourth quarter and ran 46-yards into the end zone to bring the Panthers within 13.
Bayless ran 28 yards in the end zone for another touchdown and improved the Hawks lead to 20 points with less than nine minutes left in the game. Hernandez added three points on a field goal and improved their lead 57-34, but Peoria did not give. Rojas scored on a 24-yard run with 35 seconds remaining in the game, falling 57-40 to Apollo.
By Jennifer Jimenez