Tim House ran for three touchdowns Friday to lead Peoria Centennial to a 44-31 win over Phoenix North in the 5A Division II semifinals at Cesar Chavez High School.
The Coyotes (11-2) will face Phoenix North Canyon in the state championship game Dec. 3 at Sun Devil Stadium.
House, who had been hampered by injuries much of the year, had back-to-back touchdowns early in the second quarter to put his team up 20-7.
“That was the hardest game I’ve ever played,” he said. “I got hit in the ankle and it was a little shaky, but I just walked it off. This is the semifinals. You can’t leave anything out there.”
North (11-2) got a break when Cody Dowd returned a House fumble 20 yards for a TD and trailed 23-17 at the half. But on the first possession of the second half, North quarterback Erik Archuleta injured his knee while punting and didn’t return.
The Mustangs fell behind 36-17 before replacement Stefan Vallejo connected for a 67-yard TD with Ramel Ross.
Dowd then intercepted Shane Mascarenas at the Centennial 34, but North couldn’t take advantage. The Coyotes came back with a seven-play drive to go up 44-24 early in the fourth quarter.
Dowd gave the Mustangs their only lead, 7-6, in the first quarter on an 18-yard reception from Archuleta.