Superior ready for difficult playoff road

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Superior Panthers

  Nothing worth winning ever comes easy.

  Such is the case for the No. 2-seed Superior football team, which will play No. 7 Bagdad this Friday in the quarterfinals of the 1A State Championship Playoffs.

  The Sultans, a perennial playoff team that won the state title in 2016, make the Panthers’ road to a championship arguably the most difficult for any of the top-four seeds.

  “Bagdad is a physical team,” Superior head coach Ryan Palmer said. “They have a rich tradition and we must play at a championship level. Quarterfinal matchups in 1A don’t get much tougher.”

  It’s always tough to beat the same team twice in a season and the Panthers defeated the Sultans in week three, 24 – 12. It was Superior’s closest margin of victory during its undefeated season and serves as further evidence that winning a state championship won’t come easy.

  The Panthers enter Friday’s game with the benefit of a first-round bye, while Bagdad defeated Ray in its first-round playoff game, 58 – 0.

  “The bye week allowed us to get healthier and clean some things up,” Palmer said.

  What must the Panthers do to advance to the semifinals?

  “We have to play disciplined assignment football,” Palmer responded. “We must play together as a team. ‘Family’ is our team slogan this season. Win or lose, we are going play for each other and leave it all on the field; every player, every play.”

  Friday’s kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Andy Luberda (1106 Posts)

Andrew Luberda began writing for Copper Area News Publishers (CANP) in February 2013 after working 15 years in Healthcare Financial Management. Andy covers sports for 11 high schools. His stories are published in Copper Basin News, San Manuel Miner and Superior Sun, in addition to the San Tan Valley Daily PRSS and CopperArea websites. Additionally, he has written human interest stories and business profiles. In May 2012, he earned an AAS in Sports Management at Central Arizona College before graduating with a BS in Communication from Arizona State University in 2014. He and his wife, Kelli, have three sons – AJ, Kyle, and Kade.


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