The Tucson Youth Football and Spirit Federation (TYFSF) was founded some 52 years or so ago in 1969 and it is still going strong with local organizations taking part in the Old Pueblo Classic at Rillito Downs this weekend including the Raiders, Falcons, Jaguars, Redskins, Wildcats, Thunder, Oro Valley Dolphins, Sierra Vista Wolverines, Vail Vikings and Santa Cruz Cardinals.
Flag and 8U games were held Friday night and 10U to 13U runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Youth football had a presence in Tucson before TYFSF and one of those leagues was the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) which held an All-Star game at Salpointe in 1964 and the roster was loaded with future high school standouts including Dan Cross and Bruce Pawlowski of Salpointe and future All-City First Team QB Phil Larriva of Rincon.
According to a report from Jim Easterwood of the Arizona Daily Star, the Southwest Team defeated the Northeast team 24-13 on Thanksgiving with Fernando Mendoza of St. Ambrose, George Walls of St. Ambrose, Pat Castillo of Santa Cruz, Henry Wilkins of Santa Cruz, Greg Gaona of All Saints, Francis McIntyre of St. Joseph, Larriva of Santa Cruz, Pete Sense of Santa Cruz, Tim Kelly of Santa Cruz all coming up big. Larriva had two touchdown passes in the game.
In that same year, Amphitheater Junior High beat Fickett 31-12 in the Junior High city championship game held at Tucson High. Frank Pedersoli had scoring runs of 10, 35 and 50 yards and he also threw a TD pass to Pete Velasquez. The Pirates went 11-0 and Fickett finished 10-1. Pedersoli went on to lead the Amphitheater Panthers in basketball.
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Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017, a 2019 AZ Education News award winner and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about high school beach volleyball and high school girls wrestling. 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. Andy is the Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019 and he is a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Committee. Contact Andy Morales at firstname.lastname@example.org