No. 40: Benny Malone rushes for 2 TDs to lead Eloy Santa Cruz to 1969 title, unbeaten season


No. 40

CHAMPIONSHIP: Class 3A (known as Class A at the time)

SCORE: Eloy Santa Cruz 22, Ajo 13

DATE: Dec. 5, 1969

SITE: Glendale Community College (attendance 3,512)

Eloy Santa Cruz Valley legend Ben Malone when he was a standout at ASU (ASU photo)

GAME SUMMARY: Arizona Daily Star’s young correspondent Mark Kimble, who went on to become the city editor, assistant managing editor and associate editor of the Tucson Citizen, reported on the game and mentioned that Santa Cruz Valley was commonly known as only “Eloy” at the time. Eloy, in this case, went unbeaten at 12-0 with this victory capping the memorable season for Lonnie Foster and the Dust Devils. It was Foster’s third title in five years. Ajo finished 9-2 with both losses to Eloy.

Benny Malone, who went on to star at ASU and play six seasons in the NFL, put Eloy ahead of Ajo 14-0 with a 61-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Malone, who passed away in 2020, finished with 157 yards rushing. His older brother Art also played for Frank Kush at ASU.

After Ajo cut the lead to 14-13 in the third quarter, Eloy put the game out of reach with 2:35 left in the game when Malone scored on a 3-yard touchdown run. Larry Foote then completed a 2-point conversion pass to Pancho Mendoza. The Dust Devils’ time-consuming, game-clinching drive took 11 plays in 53 yards after a Ajo punt.

BOX SCORE (printed in Arizona Daily Star):

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