CHAMPIONSHIP: Class 1A (8-man football)
SCORE: St. David 58, Heber Mogollon 26
DATE: November 14, 1997
SITE: Apache Junction High School’s Davis Field
GAME SUMMARY: St. David completed a perfect 11-0 season under coach John Bryant with the victory, taking advantage of a botched onsides kick attempt by Mogollon after the Mustangs cut the lead to four points with a touchdown in the first possession of the second half. After Mogollon (9-2) cut St. David’s lead to 22-18 four minutes into the third quarter on a flea-flicker pass from Eric “Goose” Gaylord to quarterback Ben Tenney, St. David put together four consecutive touchdown possession to pull away. Three of the scores were accounted for by junior quarterback Greg Mortenson.
QUOTABLE: “Mogollon thought they could beat us but we came through and dug down really hard into our hearts and grabbed it. We took it (the title) this time and we showed them what the Tigers are.” — Mortenson to the Arizona Republic. Mortenson ran for three touchdowns and passed for another.
DID YOU KNOW: Bryant won nine 8-man state championships in a storied career that began after he took a buyout from IBM in the early 1990s, according to an Arizona Republic report. He guided St. David to back-to-back titles in 1997 and 1998, and again in 2000 and 2001, Pima to back-to-back crowns in 2004 and 2005 and Joseph City to three championships in a row from 2009-11.