Santa Cruz is for real. The Dust Devils beat Tombstone 64-7 Friday night to improve to 5-0 on the year. The last time Santa Cruz started out a season 5-0, the Dust Devils went on to win a state championship.
The year was 1990 and the team from Eloy finished a perfect 13-0. It was also the last of a string of seven state championships then…. nothing. Santa Cruz finished 0-9 just two years later. The program only had six more playoff appearances and football was an afterthought until Rishard Davis came to town in 2014. Sure, he led the team to 3-6 record that year but it was the most wins the program had put together since 2008. Then came 2015….
Depending on your source, the population of Eloy is somewhere between 13,000 and 16,000 while the high school has had an enrollment of around 350 students. It is remarkable that a classic small-town like this has produced four NFL players:
Art Malone, Arizona State: Falcons, Eagles (1970-76)
Ben Malone, Arizona State: Dolphins, Redskins (1974-79)
Mossy Cade, Texas: Packers (1985-86)
Levi Jones, Arizona State: Bengals, Redskins (2002-09)
Cienega beat Salpointe 51-14 to improve to 6-0. 2011 was the last time the Bobcats opened up undefeated. That team finished 13-1 and took second place to Chaparral in the Division II playoffs. Desert View beat Cholla 61-13 to move to 6-0 on the year and is now on a 7-game win streak dating back to last year. It is the longest win streak for the program. The Jaguars won nine games in 1987 and seven in 1996. Seven wins is historically the mark a team needs to make the playoffs.
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 and on AZPreps365.com. Contact Andy Morales at AMoralesMyTucson@yahoo.com