Queen Creek Canyon State became the first team in school history to start a season 10-0 with a 54-20 win over Fort Thomas in the quarterfinals of the Class 1A state playoffs.
The Rams bottled up the Apaches' offense until the game was well out of reach while rushing for 266 yards.
"Our focal point was to keep it simple," Rams coach Louis Ruesing said. "We wanted to get back to the basics."
The playoffs began just as the regular season did for the Rams, with a resounding victory over the Apaches. Canyon State defeated Fort Thomas 36-8 to open the season.
"I'm proud of our offensive line and I'm proud of the way our receivers blocked downfield," Ruesing said.
Canyon State made use of the big play to jump out to a 32-0 lead in the first half. A pair of touchdown runs in excess of 50 yards, a 68-yard touchdown pass and a blocked punt that went out of the Fort Thomas end zone for a safety provided the sparks for the Rams.
Fort Thomas scored a pair of touchdowns at the end of the first half to creep back within 20 points, but the Rams opened the second half with yet another big play, a 70-yard kickoff return, to reclaim control of the game.
The Rams advance to the state semifinals where they will face Mogollon Nov. 4 at Apache Junction. Despite a big win, coach Ruesing sounded like a man who was happy with his team but has a focus on improving for next week.
"We made some adjustments and we tackled a lot better," Ruesing said. "We still need to polish up some things."