No. 19: Marana rushes way to unbeaten season, 1964 title overcoming Willcox in close battle


No. 19

CHAMPIONSHIP: Class 2A (known as Class B at the time)

SCORE: Marana 14, Willcox 7

DATE: November 27, 1964

SITE: Marana High School

Marana great Frank Ard ran for 148 yards on six carries in the Tigers’ win over Willcox

GAME SUMMARY: This was the start of Marana’s three state titles in five years, finishing 11-0 under coach Duane Morrison.

The Tigers’ defense subdued Willcox (8-3) for the second time that season at Marana’s home field.

Marana won the season opener of both teams 46-7. Willcox’s defense was up to the task in the championship, limiting the Tigers to 244 yards, all on the ground. Marana did not complete a pass in its four attempts after Rich Hinton completed nine of 11 pass attempts for 162 yards and three touchdowns in the previous meeting.

Marana’s 160-pound halfback Frank Ard, who rushed for 148 yards on six carries, provided the game-winning touchdown with about 3 minutes remaining on a 48-yard touchdown run.

Ard, taking Hinton’s pitchout, sweeped right and picked up a block by fullback Lacy Colter on the 20 and ran untouched into the end zone. Leroy Peoples added the extra-point run to make it 14-7 (PATs back then were off offensive plays, not kicks).

Ard ignited Marana’s first touchdown possession in the last seconds of the first half, rushing for 57 of the 86 yards. The Tigers’ Philip Lindsey recovered a fumble by Willcox at the 14 to give Marana possession.

Peoples punctuated the drive with a 14-yard touchdown run and Ard’s extra-point run made it 7-7.

Willcox opened the scoring in the first quarter on its first possession after stopping Marana following kickoff.

The Cowboys drove 73 yards on 12 plays, culminating on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Harvey Knoll to John Pancholk. Knoll scored the extra-point run to put Willcox ahead 7-0.

Willcox fullback Harold Kimbrell, who finished with 90 yards on 21 carries, had a bulk of the yards on the ground in the possession and Knoll and Pancholk connected on a 25-yard pass that set up the touchdown.

DID YOU KNOW: Cleo Robinson, a distinguished football and basketball official and grandfather of Salpointe running back great Bijan Robinson, was one of the tailbacks on Marana’s team. He alternated bringing in plays to the huddle with Ard. They were called “Messenger Boys” in newspaper reports.

BOX SCORE (printed in the Arizona Daily Star):

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