Peoria High Wins First State Title


The Peoria High offense got the job done once and for all, as the Lions racked up 621 yards in their 62-48 win over Vernon Hills in the 5A title game, capturing the school’s first football state championship.

Junior quarterback Coran Taylor threw for 215 yards and two touchdowns, and added 134 yards and three scores on the ground. Fellow junior Geno Hess led all rushers with 215 yards and two touchdowns of his own.

Peoria struggled to stop the Cougars in the first half, but the Lions forced three second-half turnovers, allowing them to build a two-score lead. As Vernon Hills drove into Peoria territory late in the fourth quarter, senior Colton Smith-Brown sacked Kyle Hull, and Jaleen James recovered his fumble.

As Vernon Hills burned timeouts, Hess broke loose for the game’s final first down, sealing the 14-point win.

The city of Peoria will celebrate the state championship with a parade Sunday, beginning at 2 pm at Knoxville and Nebraska and leading to a 3 pm rally at the high school.

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