No. 43: Willcox holds off Blue Ridge’s late threat to capture 1982 state championship


No. 43

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

SCORE: Willcox 13, Lakeside Blue Ridge 11

DATE: November 19, 1982

SITE: Tempe Marcos de Niza High School

GAME SUMMARY: Willcox (9-3) knocked off Blue Ridge (9-2) a week after upsetting previously unbeaten Williams to claim its one and only state title.

The Cowboys were in control from the beginning taking a 13-3 lead at halftime. Leading 13-9 with less than 2 minutes remaining, Willcox used a goal-line stand to preserve the victory.

After Blue Ridge defensive back Greg Schimmel intercepted a Jessie Reyes pass at Willcox’s 40-yard line and returned the ball 23 yards to the 17, the Yellow Jackets moved the ball to the 7 and had a first-and-goal with 1:47 left.

Rob Wahlin carried the ball three times to the 1, and on fourth down, Willcox’s defensive front pushed back Wahlin’s brother Rick from getting into the end zone.

Blue Ridge cut the lead to 13-11 with 23 seconds left on the next play when Reyes tried to hand off the ball but was tackled for a safety.

After Monty Reidhead returned the ensuing punt 12 yards to the Willcox 46, Blue Ridge quarterback Don Sanders hit Chris Clarine with a pass to the 34-yard line. With two seconds remaining, Dale Clester, who earlier made a 28-yard field goal, came up short on a 51-yard attempt.

Willcox’s scores occurred in the second quarter when Reyes completed a 5-yard pass to Brian Blair and fullback Phillip Foreman rushed into the end zone from 28 yards.

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