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CHAMPIONSHIP: Class 4A .(known as Class AA at the time)
SCORE: Canyon del Oro 9, Gilbert 7
DATE: November 26, 1977
SITE: Mesa Community College
GAME SUMMARY: Canyon del Oro quarterback Jeff Carreón scored all nine of the Dorados’ points in the last three minutes of the game to lead the school to a consecutive state championship under coach Bob Smith.
Carreón’s career-best 46-yard field goal with 32 seconds remaining was the difference.
The field goal came after the Dorados (9-1-1) recovered the onsides kick with 2:50 remaining following Carreón’s 1-yard scoring run that cut Gilbert’s lead to 7-6.
Rather than try the point-after attempt to tie the game and create the possibility for a co-championship, Smith went for the win and called for a two-point conversion (state championships back then did not have overtimes).
Carreón found John Howe in the end zone for an apparent two points, but the Dorados were penalized for holding.
The penalty moved the ball back to the CDO 18 and Smith again called for a two-point try. Carreón threw the ball to Steve Gallagher in the end zone but the pass was broken up by a Gilbert defender.
Trailing 7-6, Smith called for the onsides kick, which was executed perfectly with Mitch Maynard recovering the ball at the Gilbert 47.
Without any timeouts, Carreón moved the ball to the 35 following a 12-yard pass to Gallagher. That was followed by a 5-yard loss on a sack and then an incomplete pass.
Tod Oney rushed for 11 yards to the 29 on a third-down play, setting up the game-winning field goal by Carreón.
CDO was unable to drive against Gilbert (9-3) the entire game until the Dorados marched 65 yards late in the fourth quarter, capped by Carreón’s 1-yard touchdown run. Carreón completed a pass for a first down on a fourth-down situation during that drive.
The Dorados finished with 27 yards rushing and had four turnovers.
Gilbert’s offense was also ineffective against CDO’s defense mustering only 38 yards on the ground.
THEY SAID IT: “I don’t believe in ties. We were going for two points all the way. A tie meant we’d share the state championship with Gilbert and I don’t believe in that. Even if we missed, we’d still feel like winners.” — CDO coach Bob Smith about going for the two-point conversion down 7-6 with 2:51 left in the game.
DID YOU KNOW: Carreón, whose full name is David Jeffery Carreón, passed away from a heart attack in May. He was only 62 and living in San Diego. He is survived by his wife Danielle Mosier Carreón, sons Daniel and Christian and brother Ron Carreón among his immediate family. His brother Richard Carreón passed away in 2019. Jeff Carreón, 5-foot-9 and 165 pounds while with CDO, was selected the Back of the Year by AA coaches in 1977. He was a defensive back the year before he shifted to quarterback. Smith mentioned at the time he needed one of his better athletes at the position.