No. 26: Colter’s three TDs propel Marana to 1968 title over Round Valley in battle of unbeatens


No. 26

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

SCORE: Marana 21, Round Valley 6

DATE: November 27, 1968

SITE: Eastern Arizona College, Thatcher

Marana’s Cleveland Colter

GAME SUMMARY: The distinguished career of Marana running back Cleveland Colter came to a close with the legendary Tiger rushing for all three of the team’s touchdowns and leading the school to its second straight state title.

The 200-pound Colter scored on runs of one, seven and 20 yards and also converted all three extra-point attempts.

Coach Don Hawkins’ Tigers finished with a perfect 11-0 record while Round Valley (10-1) suffered its first loss.

Marana’s defense kept Round Valley in check until a 60-yard pass play to end the game.

Colter scored two rushing touchdowns in the second quarter to put Marana ahead 14-0.

The first touchdown came on an 8-yard run on a 60-yard possession in eight plays. Colter accounted for 40 of those yards on six plays.

His second touchdown run of 20 yards completed an 85-yard drive on eight plays. His 1-yard plunge increased the lead to 21-0 in the fourth quarter.

Marana’s defense limited Round Valley to five first downs and 127 yards of total offense, 60 of which were on the last play in which the Tigers were expecting their opponents to simply run out the clock because of the discrepancy in score.

DID YOU KNOW: Colter was also the captain the defense as a linebacker in 1968 and was also a first-team All-State halfback that year. He won four state championships as a senior — football, basketball, baseball and track — and was also an All-State fullback on Marana’s 1967 championship football team. One of his sons, Cleveland “Cadillac” Colter III, was an All-American at USC who played for former Arizona coach Larry Smith, and another, Spencer Colter, won a national championship with Colorado in 1990. His grandson, Kain, was the starting quarterback at Northwestern who led the effort to unionize college athletes. Sadly, Cleveland Colter died from a pulmonary seizure under anesthesia in the mid-1970s after going in for a dental appointment.

BOX SCORE (printed in the Tucson Citizen):

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