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CHAMPIONSHIP: Class 1A
SCORE: Maricopa 20, Suffolk Hills 14
DATE: November 20, 1981
SITE: Phoenix Indian School
GAME SUMMARY: A decade before Suffolk Hills changed its name to Immaculate Heart and dropped football, the Rebels from Oro Valley played for their first football championship but came up short.
Suffolk Hills (10-1) also lost its first game of the season after Maricopa (9-0) scored its winning touchdown with only 17 seconds remaining.
Reserve halfback Marco Valenzuela ran around left end from three yards for the winning score.
On their last possession, Suffolk Hills moved from its 15 to the Maricopa 35-yard line with eight seconds remaining. Jamie Gallagher’s pass intended for Steve Sorce Jr., the son of Suffolk Hills coach Steve Sorce Sr., was broken up by two Rams defenders in the end zone.
Suffolk Hills scored the game’s first touchdown in the second quarter when tailback Andy Brucker, following a block by end Eddie Ortiz, scored on a 12-yard run.
The Rebels took a 14-8 lead in the third quarter after Guy Abramo’s 1-yard scoring run and Sorce Jr.’s two-point conversion run.
Maricopa, which tied the game at 14 on the last play of the third quarter, went 69 yards on 11 plays in the game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter. The Rams completed a pass on a fourth-and-four situation to keep the drive alive.
THEY SAID IT: “It was a hell of a game and a hell of a way to lose. If there had been 15 more seconds left, we would have scored.” — Suffolk Hills coach Steve Sorce Sr.
BOX SCORE (printed in Arizona Daily Star):