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AZPreps365 Cornerby AIA365.com Staff
#12 Millennium Aims For Another Upset At #4 CentennialNov 8, 2012
The 12th-seeded Millennium Tigers aim for another upset on Friday night when they clash with fourth-ranked Centennial in the quarterfinals of the Division II playoffs in Peoria.
The Tigers knocked off fifth-seeded Cesar Chavez in the opening round last week, handing the Champions their second straight loss after starting the year 9-0. Millennium (8-3) posted its 10th season of at least seven wins and continued its solid year with a stunning 28-20 win over Chavez in Laveen. Trent Lane had a pair of rushing touchdowns as the Tigers avenged a 39-10 loss to the Champions earlier in the season.
The Tigers now look to get some revenge on the Coyotes, who cruised to a 55-0 victory in the regular season meeting between these schools in Week Two.
Centennial head coach Richard Taylor said his team will not look past Millennium despite the big win earlier this year. "We know that what happened in week two has little bearing on this Friday's game. We've talked to our players and it is up to the seniors to make sure that no team is ever overlooked."
The Tigers are balanced on offense. They average 147 yards rushing and 104 yards passing per game. Senior Lavonte Hatcher leads the team with 453 yards and five touchdowns but missed the first round win over Chavez. Head coach George Martinez is hopeful that the senior will return this week.
Millennium is trying to advance to the state semifinals for the first time since 2005, and second time ever. The Tigers, who are 7-9 all-time in postseason play, have never played for a state title.
Centennial (10-1) is seeking its ninth straight trip to at least the state semifinals. The Coyotes lost to Chaparral in the semis last year and also fell to the Firebirds in the state title game in 2010. They are looking to get back to championship form, aiming for their first title since a three-year run from 2006-2008.
Taylor said "there are several factors that have led to our success. We have a supportive school administration, we have a strong booster club, we have dedicated parents, hardworking players, and committed coaches."
Despite a slow start and an early 7-0 deficit in the opening round, Centennial cruised to a 49-7 win over Tucson Sahuaro. Tre' Grant threw for 138 yards and two touchdowns, breaking the school record with 27 TD passes on the year. Taylor said "Tre has played well all year and we were glad to see him get the record. In the playoffs, Tre's ability to make good decisions and take care of the football will be very important to us."
Taylor added that limiting the penalties this week will be a key factor. "In last week's game we hurt ourselves with penalties in the beginning. We need to do a better job in that area. I would say execution of the game plan, and limiting penalties (are the keys)."
The Coyotes rushed for 261 yards and five touchdowns against Sahuaro as 14 different players had at least one carry. UCLA commit Jalen Ortiz led the way with 116 yards on 18 carries, giving him 984 yards on the season. As a unit, Centennial's ground game has racked up nearly 3,000 yards and 49 touchdowns this year.
Another Centennial record is on the line this week. The Coyotes have scored 610 points in 11 games this season and need just 36 more to break the school mark of 645 points set in 2006.
The winner will advance to face either top-ranked Salpointe (Tucson) or ninth-seeded Mountain View (Marana) in the semifinals. Kickoff Friday is at 7pm.