Canyon del Oro defeats Tucson to win 8th championship


Brad Allis (Explorer)

Brad Allis (Explorer)


Tuesday, May 19: Tempe Diablo Stadium
No. 3 Canyon del Oro 3, No. 1 Tucson 1


I had no idea breaking the news of the Canyon del Oro baseball team missing their graduation ceremony would be such a big understory to the possibility of the Dorados winning an eighth state championship.

The conflict was picked up by USA Today and I answered countless questions about it from the media, players, parents and fans. I knew the players preferred playing to walking across a stage for a few moments but graduation is for parents and grandparents.

Even now, after Canyon del Oro won the state championship, I am still answering questions about it.

At any rate, the real story is the championship won by the Dorados and the incredible display of coaching from Keith Francis and Oscar Romero this year.

Francis was the right guy at the right time to guide a team filled with college commits and possible MLB draftees. Coaching a team like that is not as easy at it may look. Having covered those boys for a few years, I can tell you it took a firm hand.


Romero was never given his due by the media this year even though his team earned the top seed in the state tournament as well as beating CDO in the regular season when the Dorados were ranked in the top ten nationally and he did it with out the media frenzy surrounding the obvious talent found at Salpointe and Canyon del Oro.

Cienega softball coach Eric Tatham told me Romero was a great motivator and he should know. Tatham won a state championship at Tucson High when Romero was an assistant with the program. That was a generation ago but Romero still connects with teenagers.

The Canyon del Oro administration announced the senior’s names during graduation and their seats remained empty but principal Paul DeWeerdt received the loudest applause when he announced CDO’s championship.

Since I was unable to attend the game due to my own daughter’s graduation, we turn to our friend Brad Allis of the Explorer to give us a recap of the championship.


Tucson High (29)
1912: 5A (James F. McKale)
1913: 5A (James F. McKale)
1918: 5A (Arthur Smith)
1920: 5A (M.N. Porter)
1922: 5A (Aaron McCreary)
1924: 5A (Richard Meyer)
1930: 5A (Andy Tolson)
1932: 5A (Andy Tolson)
1935: 5A (Andy Tolson)
1937: 5A (Andy Tolson)
1939: 5A (Andy Tolson)
1940: 5A (Andy Tolson)
1941: 5A (Andy Tolson)
1942: 5A (Hank Slagle)
1943: 5A (Hank Slagle)
1944: 5A (Hank Slagle)
1945: 5A (Hank Slagle)
1946: 5A (Hank Slagle)
1948: 5A (Hank Slagle)
1950: 5A (Hank Slagle)
1951: 5A (Hank Slagle)
1952: 5A (Hank Slagle)
1954: 5A (Hank Slagle)
1955: 5A (Lee Carey)
1956: 5A (Lee Carey)
1959: 5A (Ray Adkins)
1972: 5A (Ray Adkins)
1987: 5A (Tom Lundy)
1988: 5A (Tom Lundy)

St. David (17)
1965: 1A (Jim Crawford)
1966: 1A (Jim Crawford)
1967: 1A (Jim Crawford)
1980: 1A (Jim Crawford)
1984: 1A (Jim Crawford)
1986: 1A (Jim Crawford)
1987: 1A (Jim Crawford)
1988: 1A (Jim Crawford)
1989: 1A (Jim Crawford)
1990: 1A (Jim Crawford)
1991: 1A (Jim Crawford)
1993: 1A (Jim Crawford)
1997: 1A (John Sands)
2000: 1A (Jim Crawford)
2001: 1A (Jim Crawford)
2002: 1A (Jim Crawford)
2012: D-IV (Ron Goodman)

Nogales (9)
1951: 4A (James Concannon)
1952: 4A (James Concannon)
1954: 4A (James Concannon)
1955: 4A (James Concannon)
1956: 4A (James Concannon)
1965: 4A (James Concannon)
1971: 4A (James Concannon)
1976: 4A (Bob Young)
1981: 4A (Bob Young)

Canyon del Oro (8)
1979: 5A (Roger Werbylo)
1984: 5A (Roger Werbylo)
1994: 5A (Phil Wright)
1997: 5A (Phil Wright)
2000: 5A (Kent Winslow)
2002: 5A (Keith Francis)
2009: 4A (Len Anderson)
2015: D-II (Keith Francis)

Douglas (8)
1953: 3A (Barney Leigh)
1958: 3A (Tom Lay)
1960: 3A (Ike Sharp)
1961: 3A (Ike Sharp)
1962: 3A (Ike Sharp)
1975: 4A (Manny Valenzuela)
1978: 4A (Manny Valenzuela)
2001: 4A (Jaime Tadeo)

Bisbee (5)
1947: 3A (Waldo Dicus)
1966: 3A (Dick Atkinson)
1993: 2A (Mike Frosco)
2002: 2A (Mike Frosco)
2008: 2A (Mike Frosco)

San Manuel (5)
1963: 3A (Hal Eustice)
1971: 3A (John Bunch)
1973: 3A (John Bunch)
1985: 3A (Don Payne)
1992: 3A (Don Payne)

Santa Cruz (5)
1975: 3A (Brad Moon)
1976: 3A (Brad Moon)
1982: 3A (Kent Winslow)
1990: 2A (Scott Cook)
1991: 2A (Scott Cook)

Valley Union (5)
1970: 1A (John Grimes)
1971: 1A (Tim Hart)
1973: 1A (Tim Hart)
1974: 1A (Tim Hart)
2008: 1A (Tony Luzania)

Patagonia (4)
1963: 1A (Reg LeFevre)
1964: 1A (Reg LeFevre)
1972: 1A (David Thompson)
1996: 1A (Mike Slenk)

Safford (4)
1994: 3A (Rich DeRidder)
1996: 3A (Rich DeRidder)
2000: 3A (Rich DeRidder)
2008: 3A (Robert Abalos)

Willcox (4)
1956: 1A (Joe Anaya)
1999: 2A (Russ Bethel)
2000: 2A (Russ Bethel)
2001: 2A (Russ Bethel)

Desert Christian (3)
2013: D-IV (Grant Hopkins)
2014: D-IV (Grant Hopkins)
2015: D-IV (Grant Hopkins)

Sahuarita (3)
1974: 2A (Wes Gentner)
1984: 3A (Wes Gentner)
2005: 3A (Bryan Huie)

Sahuaro (3)
1973: 5A (Hal Eustice)
1974: 5A (Hal Eustice)
1982: 5A (Hal Eustice)

Benson (2)
1963: 2A (James Cummings)
1987: 2A (Ken Smith)

Catalina (2)
1967: 5A (Cliff Myrick)
2011: 4A-II (Tony Gabusi)

Duncan (2)
2004: 1A (Andrew Larson)
2005: 1A (Chano Talavera)

Rincon (2)
1962: 5A (Lee Carey)
1971: 5A (Gary Grabosch)

Tanque Verde (2)
2009: 1A (James Lawwill)
2011: 1A (James Lawwill)

Tombstone (2)
1977: 2A (John Escarcega)
1994: 2A (Ron Ingrum)

Amphitheater (1)
1980: 5A (Paul Gabaldon)

Desert View (1)
1991: 4A (Rene Rodriguez)

Flowing Wells (1)
1983: 4A (John Gleeson)

Green Fields (1)
1998: 1A (Frank Trujillo)

Marana (1)
1969: 2A (Joe Acker)

Palo Verde (1)
2014: D-III (Jim Mentz)

Pueblo (1)
1990: 4A (Jon Holstrom)

Pusch Ridge (1)
2009: 2A (Doug Jones)

Sabino (1)
1997: (Mike Bejarano)

Santa Rita (1)
1986: 5A (Dan Moore)

St. Gregory (1)
1999: 1A (Shane Sherwood)

Suffolk Hills (Immaculate Heart) (1)
1985: 1A (Jeff Dean)


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Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here, on and on the pages of the Vail Voice and the Tanque Verde Voice. Contact Andy Morales at


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