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2022 Southern Arizona high school football spotlight: Rio Rico Hawks


4A Gila: Rio Rico

2021 record: 0-8 overall, 0-4 4A Gila (last place)

2022 record: 1-0 overall

Head coach: Jeff Scurran, 1-0 first season at Rio Rico, 234-67-1 in 25th year as a head coach at Southern Arizona high schools, 312-140-2 overall in 38th year as a head coach. The legendary Scurran, who has the distinction of turning moribund programs into championship contenders, has begun his challenge of trying to turn around the fortunes of Rio Rico. He already has coached the Hawks to their first win over rival Nogales for the first after starting 0-14 in the series with Friday’s 10-0 win over the visiting Apaches. Scurran, 74, is the 11th different coach to lead the Hawks since the program started in 1997. He took over a program that finished 0-8 last season and has only one winning season in the 25th year of the program — 6-5 in 2013. The huge undertaking fits right into the tasks he has mastered before at Sabino, CDO, Santa Rita and Pima College, and two high school teams in Oregon. He made them all playoff-caliber teams after they struggled mightily before his arrival. “USA Today tells me I’m the only coach they’ve been able to research to have three different 0-10 teams that went to the playoffs in their first year,” Scurran said. “I tell them I’m the craziest guy you know who would take over three 0-10 teams.”

Jeff Scurran is now at his fifth Southern Arizona high school as a head coach (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

JEFF SCURRAN HEAD COACHING RECORD

Veteran coach Jeff Scurran is in his 38th year overall as a head coach, 25th at a Southern Arizona high school with his new position at Rio Rico. Researched by AllSportsTucson.com.
YearsTeamRecord
1970-71Atlanta (GA) Moreland School20-0
1978Tahoe-Truckee (CA) HS3-5-1
1981Dalles (OR) Wahtonka HS9-2
1982-83Portland (OR) West Linn HS9-10
1984-86CDO HS28-10
1988-99Sabino HS127-27-1
2001-04Pima CC26-17
2007-09Santa Rita HS34-7
2012Guelfi Firenze (Italy)10-2
2013-18Catalina Foothills HS44-23
2019Allgau Comets (Germany)1-5
2021Stuttgart Scorpions (Germany)0-2
2022Rio Rico HS1-0
25th yearSouthern AZ HS234-67-1
29th yearAll HS255-84-2
38th yearAll stops312-140-2

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Key returners:

  • QB/LB Angel Godinez, Jr.
  • TE/MLB Jose Perez, Sr.
  • WR/DB Andres Lopez, Sr.
  • WR/DB Humberto Osuna, Jr.
  • WR/FS Orlando Batriz Jr., Sr.
  • RB/DB Yassiel Felix, Jr.
  • WR/RB Nathan Villegas, Sr.

Coaching staff:

  • Head coach/defensive ends/kickers: Jeff Scurran
  • Wide receivers/special teams (punters): Robbie Moen
  • Inside linebackers/tight ends/H-backs: Bryant Stott
  • Offensive/defensive lines: Nick Davis
  • Running backs: Isaac Banks
  • Defensive backs: Devin Smith

Notes: Scurran talked former Flowing Wells football and Arizona baseball standout Robbie Moen into joining him at Rio Rico after Moen coached softball the last six years in Frisco (Texas) for the Frozen Ropes Academy and at Aubrey (Texas) Braswell High School as the junior varsity coach. Moen’s hire with Scurran reunites the two from when Scurran served as Flowing Wells’ offensive coordinator in 1987 (between his stints at CDO and Sabino) — Moen’s sophomore season with the Caballeros. Moen is the athletic director and a physical education teacher at Coatimundi Middle School in Rio Rico. … Bryant Stott, son of new Ironwood Ridge coach Dale Stott, moves from Flowing Wells to be one of Scurran’s assistants. … Running backs coach Isaac Banks was an all-city receiver for Scurran at Sabino (Class of 1995). … Offensive and defensive line coach Nick Davis’ father Tim has gone on to an impressive career as an offensive line coach after serving as a graduate assistant at Arizona under Dick Tomey in 1987. He has served as the offensive line coach at Utah, Wisconsin, USC and Florida with also a stint with the Miami Dolphins. … Rio Rico has a week off before heading Sept. 16 to Flagstaff for a rare freedom game that far north in the state. The Hawks then go the opposite direction in the state playing at Douglas on Sept. 23. … An interesting schedule note: Rio Rico ends its regular season hosting Sahuaro, which means two of the most successful coaches in Southern Arizona high school football history will be on the sidelines — Scurran and Sahuaro defensive line coach Dennis Bene, who is working with his former assistant at Salpointe, Al Alexander — in his first year as the Cougars’ coach. Bene and Scurran have a combined 418 coaching victories in Southern Arizona. Bene was 184-44 in 19 seasons at Salpointe.

Keep an eye out for: Foreign-exchange students Adem Shatri, a 6-foot-1, 207-pound receiver/defensive end from Stuttgart, Germany, and Reef Robbins, a 6-foot and 185-pound quarterback from Bristol, United Kingman. Both are classified as seniors. Shatri and Robbins came from overseas thanks to Scurran’s European contacts from the time he coached there professionally in Germany and Italy. Shatri and Robbins have experience playing for American football academies in their respective countries.

The following are some highlights from Scurran’s career that has spanned 52 years. Included among them: Scurran is 54 wins from matching the late Vern Friedli of Amphi for most coaching wins by a Southern Arizona coach at the high school level. Friedli amassed 288. Scurran is at 234.

THE SCURRAN REBUILDS

1982: Wahtonka High School, Oregon.
From 0-18 to the state semifinals in his only year at the school (9-2).

1984: Canyon del Oro
The Dorados went 3-7 in 1982 and Scurran took them to eight wins, including a playoff win, in 1985.

1988: Sabino
Took a 2-8 team to 12-1 in two years and a state championship in 1990.

2001: Pima College
Starting from scratch, Scurran won 26 games in four years and beat the top-ranked team in the nation before returning to the high school level.

2007: Santa Rita
Took an 0-10 team to 11-2 in his first year and a state championship appearance in 2008.

2013: Catalina Foothills.
Took an 0-10 squad to eight wins in his first year and a state championship appearance in 2016.

RIO RICO (1-2, 0-0)

Hawks compete in the 4A Gila. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.

DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
9/2NogalesW, 10-01-00-0
9/16@ Flagstaff L, 59-121-10-0
9/23@ DouglasL, 25-211-20-0
9/30Vista Grande
10/7Empire
10/14@ Sahuarita*
10/21Walden Grove*
10/28@ Catalina Foothills*
11/4@ Amphi*
11/10Sahuaro*

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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District

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