Here we go. In just 50 days, the University of Arizona will take on BYU on Saturday, Sept. 3 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. We will be honoring and listing 50 of the greatest high school football players from the state of Arizona (not just Southern Arizona) who went on to play for the Wildcats from today until kickoff.
This list honors high school achievements only. Some went on to have great careers with Arizona and in the pros but many did not. Some still hold Arizona high school records like our first honoree, Ted Bland.
This list is not a countdown from No. 50 to No. 1. That would be a nearly impossible task. Again, it’s not a list of the 50 greatest players with the greatest impact at Arizona. That list is for another day.
Day 50: Ted Bland, Tucson High 1932: Arizona 1933-35
Ted Bland just missed the state championship team of 1929 but he was still recognized as one of the best in the state in both the baseball and football at Tucson.
Bland set the state’s single-game scoring record in 1931 with seven touchdowns against Bisbee. That record was broken in 1986 but he still holds the “Big School” record along with three other athletes including former Amphitheater great Antrel Bates.
Bates scored seven touchdowns against South Mountain in 1997. Two players have since scored 10 touchdowns in a game, including Saguaro’s DJ Foster in 2011.
Oh, and Bland still holds the 5A single-game scoring record of 42 points.
The fact that Bland still holds two state records after 84 years is impressive enough but he went on to be Arizona’s first All-American. Even more impressive, Bland died a war hero and was killed in World War II in 1944.
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Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here, on AZPreps365.com and on the pages of the Vail Voice and the Tanque Verde Voice. Contact Andy Morales at AMoralesMyTucson@yahoo.com