Liberty safety Jax Stam

Liberty safety Jax Stam leads his tough defensive team to the second round of the playoffs. (Peoria Times photos by Eric Newman)

Several Peoria area high school football teams competed last weekend as the AIA high school football playoffs opened.

Four of the Peoria schools move on to the second round. 

Liberty High advances to the second round after a 76-28 demolishing of La Joya Community.

Liberty came into the playoffs with a run-heavy attack, but senior quarterback Jonah Guevara stunned La Joya, tossing six touchdown passes. Carter Hill caught four of them. The Liberty Lions also rushed for 379 yards, with freshman Zaccheus Cooper leading the way with 145 yards.

Liberty safety Jax Stam leads a tough defense that squashed La Joya.

In the second round, Liberty looks to keep rolling, hosting Mountain View at 7 p.m. Friday.

Sunrise Mountain (8-3) also moves on, heading to Williams Field in Gilbert at 7 p.m. Friday.

In the first round, the No. 8 Mustangs galloped to a 49-36 win over Buena.

Junior Tommy Arnold rushed for three touchdowns and junior Brandon Bogard added two more in last Friday’s playoff win.

Senior quarterback Alex Gianoli rushed for 130, with the team rolling up nearly 300 yards on the ground. Gianoli also connected with junior Ezekial Marshall on a 49-yard TD pass.

Peoria High (9-2) advanced to  a second-round showdown with Cactus High.

Peoria advanced with a strong 22-7 win over Greenway.

Sophomore quarterback Aodhan Murphy tossed three touchdown passes and junior Christian Johnson - pushing for a 2,000-yard season - rushed for 101 yards in the home win.

Peoria hosts Cactus at 7 p.m. Friday.

Cactus High rolled to a 43-6 victory over Tempe, so this will be quite a challenge for the Peoria Panthers. Cactus defeated Peoria 20-14 on Nov. 1.

Centennial will host Hamilton at 7 p.m. Friday.

The No. 2 Coyotes howled up a 9-1 record. Senior quarterback Jonathan Morris leads the Coyote offense, throwing 16 touchdowns and just one interception through nine games. 

Junior Bryson Thomas led the team with 53 tackles, and senior Jaydin Young added 47 while also starting at running back.

The Coyotes have won the past two 5A state champions.

Sunnyslope ended the season with a 27-24 loss at No. 7 Cienega. The Vikings finished the season with a 6-5 record. 

Sunnyslope was led by twin seniors quarterback Niko Haen and receiver David Haen, who have been one of the top passer-receiver duos in the state this season.