Sahuaro stops Tucson High to preserve 31-28 winby Andy Morales on Aug. 30, 2013, under Sports
Down 31-28 with 43 seconds left, Tucson was faced with a fourth down and goal from the 6 yard line. Rather than attempt a 23-yard field goal attempt for the tie, the Badgers went for the win against Sahuaro in the opening game of the Coaches for Charity Kickoff Classic held at Tucson High.
Tucson quarterback Donovan Moore had rushed for 74 yards at that point but the Cougar defense held and Moore was only able to gain one more yard and Sahuaro took over on downs and then ran out the clock for the win.
Sahuaro jumped out to a 10-0 lead after the first quarter and a 24-6 lead with 2:24 left in the first half before Tucson closed out the half with a score and a 2-point conversion to enter the locker room down 24-14.
Moore started out the game with a 74-yard touchdown pass to Elijah Anderson but the Badgers had an illegal man down field and the score was reversed. Still, Tucson was able to march down to the 13-yard line where they gave up the ball on downs. It was the first of many scoring opportunities that Tucson let slip away.
Sahuaro took the ball over and Jose Ruiz ripped off a 31-yard dash to move the ball to midfield and Laramie Brown would hit Ruiz on a 24-yard strike later in the drive to set the ball up on the 1-yard line where Derik Hall punched it in a few plays later to put Sahuaro up 7-0.
Tucson High began another long drive but Cole Sterns broke it up with an interception on a tipped pass and he returned the ball to Tucson’s 25. Tucson would force Sahuaro to settle for a field goal by Demitri Fotinos and Sahuaro took the 10-point lead.
The Badgers were bitten again after Moore hit Anderson a 74-yard pass but Sahuaro stripped the ball from Anderson as he was going into the end zone and the Cougars were awarded the ball at the 20-yard line on the touch back.
Tucson went on to force a punt and then the Badgers were finally able to score after they put together a 78-yard drive with Moore taking it in from 9 yards out. The snap was botched on the extra point and Sahuaro held a 10-6 lead with 5:18 left in the half.
The Cougars added to their lead after Brown found Sterns on a 56-yard touchdown strike. Sahuaro got the ball back after a short punt and Brown went long again and hit Ruiz scored on a 43-yard pass to put Sahuaro up 24-6.
Moore was able to hookup with Jonathan Brown on a 43-yard pass to help setup a 6-yard scoring pass to Brown to cut the lead with 17.1 seconds left. Moore ran the ball in for a 2-point conversion and Sahuaro held a 24-14 lead at the half.
Both teams came out of the locker room and couldn’t move the ball but Sahuaro managed to get down to a first-and-goal at the 1 but Tucson held again and Sahuaro was forced to try for a kick but the ball hit the left upright on the 22-yard attempt.
Tucson came close again and managed to get down to the 7 yard line but Christopher Arlig sacked Moore for a 13-yard loss and Sahuaro took the ball over on downs once again.
Sahuaro punted as the game went into the fourth quarter and Anderson ran the kick back 60 yards to cut the lead down to 24-21.
Sahuaro punted again and Moore went to Bryce Coleman on 48-yard pass to put the ball at the 3 where Coleman ran it in on the next play to take a 28-24 lead for Tucson with 6:58 left in the game.
Brown went big again and hit Sterns on a 35-yard pass to put Sahuaro back up 31-28 with 3:45 left. Moore found Anderson on a 34-pass to get the ball down to the 17 and Coleman ran it down to the 4 yard line to set up the first-and-goal.
Coleman picked up 2 yards on his next run and another yard after that to make it third-and-goal at the 1 yard line but a penalty move the ball back to the 6. Anderson ran the ball down to the 4 to make it fourth down and then Moore was stopped.
Moore finished the game with 309 yards passing, Anderson had 139 yards receiving and Brown added 76. Moore rushed for 75 yards and Coleman ran for 77 more.
For Sahuaro, Brown threw for 221 yards with Sterns going for 143 and Ruiz for 77. Ruiz rushed for 51 and Hall gained 50 on the ground.
Sahuaro (1-0) hosts Sabino next Friday and Tucson (0-1) visits Nogales.
The Tucson High Class of 1959 installed the first version of the “T” that can be found on the roof of the high school and they came back to refurbish it some 54 years later with the new look.
Members of the ’59 class John Warnock and Dickie Cota-Robles spearheaded the effort. The Alumni “T” Club is selling shirts and accepting donations to help cover the $7,000 upgrade.
Feliz and Irene Sanchez were married for 27 years and Irene headed up the Pom Line at Tucson High for the last couple of years before she unexpectedly passed away on June 23.
Her daughter Stephanie took over coaching duties and the younger daughter Erica is a junior at Tucson High and a member of the Pom Line. Irene’s squad honored her memory by releasing balloons before the game began. Tucson qualified for Nationals one month after Irene died and the team is trying to raise funds for the competition that will be held in Orlando in February. Contact the school of you would like to help.
Coaches for Charity honored Sahuaro assistant coach Don Bacon. Bacon graduated from Tucson High in 1962 where he helped lead the Badgers to an undefeated season and a state championship in basketball under Tony Morales (no relation).
Bacon went on to play baseball at Phoenix College where he helped that team win a national title in 1965. His sons Barry and Omar played football at Sahuaro and Barry went on to play at ASU and Omar to Utah before playing for the New York Giants.
Former Palo Verde and Arizona football standout Adam Hall was on the Sahuaro sidelines working with his cousin Derik.