When Catalina Foothills trailed 12-0 in the fourth quarter last night at Empire, the Falcons looked like they had to wait at least another week to celebrate coach Jeff Scurran’s 300th career victory.
That’s when the coaching aura of Scurran took over — not only his presence on the sidelines, but his encouragement to his players, who listened to the same message countless players before them have heard Scurran say.
“If I’ve tried to teach these guys anything,” Scurran told KVOA-TV, “it’s you play every down, play with heart. … you keep your spirits up, you keep playing. You just never know what happens. I mean, there are some of these guys who came through and made some plays … I’ll never forget tonight. I’ll never forget it.”
Catalina Foothills quarterback Chris Kowalcek, the All Sports Tucson Star of the Night, engineered three touchdown scoring possessions with two runs and a pass.
The last score came in overtime on a 15-yard scamper up the middle, reaching the end zone and setting off a mass celebration of Scurran’s career win No. 300 near the Catalina Foothills sideline.
After all the celebrating last night, Scurran delivered this message on Facebook this morning:
“What can you say when you cross the ultimate milestone for any football coach on any level. I’m very relieved it’s over and very proud of my team. We were penalized, mistake prone, and the other team was highly motivated. Down by 12 late in the 4th quarter, my team rallied and then dominated OT to secure the win.”
The following are some highlights from Scurran’s coaching career. Included among them: Scurran is 67 wins from matching the late Vern Friedli of Amphi for most coaching wins by a Tucson-area coach at the high school level. Friedli amassed 288. Scurran is at 221.
Does Scurran stick around to catch Friedli?
1982: Wahtonka High School, Oregon.
From 0-18 to the state semifinals in his only year at the school (9-2).
1984: Canyon del Oro
The Dorados went 3-7 in 1982 and Scurran took them to eight wins, including a playoff win, in 1985.
Took a 2-8 team to 12-1 in two years and a state championship in 1990.
2001: Pima College
Starting from scratch, Scurran won 26 games in four years and beat the top-ranked team in the nation before returning to the high school level.
2007: Santa Rita
Took an 0-10 team to 11-2 in his first year and a state championship appearance in 2008.
2013: Catalina Foothills.
Took an 0-10 squad to eight wins in his first year and a state championship appearance in 2016.
THE TUCSON WINS
288: Verne Friedli.
221: Jeff Scurran:
-22 wins at Canyon del Oro (1984-86)
-127 wins at Sabino (1988-96)
-34 wins at Santa Rita (2007-09)
-38 current wins at Catalina Foothills (2013-present)
2016: 4A Runner-up
2009: D-II Runner-up
2008: D-II Runner-up
1999: 5A Runner-up
1998: 4A STATE CHAMPION
1997: 4A Runner-up
1992: 4A STATE CHAMPION
1990: 4A STATE CHAMPION
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.