No. 25: Flowing Wells, with four losses in 1964, nearly upsets unbeaten Winslow in title thriller


No. 25

CHAMPIONSHIP: Class 3A (known as Class A at the time)

SCORE: Winslow 7, Flowing Wells 0

DATE: November 27, 1964

SITE: Flowing Wells High School

Flowing Wells came close to beating unbeaten Winslow in the 1964 Class A title game but this fumble at the goal line late in the game turned the ball over (Tucson Citizen photo)

GAME SUMMARY: Flowing Wells lost three times in the 1964 season entering the championship game, which was played on its own field, facing unbeated Winslow.

The Caballeros nearly pulled off the upset of Winslow (10-0) but a potential game-winning score was eliminated by a fumble recovered by the Bulldogs in Flowing Wells’ end zone late in the game.

Carl Howard set up the scoring opportunity returning a punt 30 yards to Winslow’s 29-yard line. A series of sweeps by fullback Ed Weaver and a charge up the middle by halfback Jim Kelly took the ball to the Bulldog 1.

Weaver got the call for the potential score, but while he dove toward the end zone, the ball was knocked out of his grasp. Winslow guard Bill Bollin recovered the fumble for the touchback.

Winslow followed with the winning scoring drive, highlighted by a 33-yard run by halfback Mike O’Haco to the Caballero 12. Three plays later, quarterback Tine Lopez scored on a keeper and kicked the extra point with 1:12 remaining.

The Caballeros drove the ball to the Winslow 26 as the gun sounded to end the game.

Flowing Wells remarkably was coming off two winless seasons (an 0-18-1 stretch) and finished 7-4 in Larry Hart’s second season. At that time, the only playoff game was a state championship. The Caballeros started the year 5-0 and then lost three straight before winning the last two in the regular season.

Winslow, meanwhile, was 18-1 in two seasons under coach Emil Nasser.

THEY SAID IT: “It’s a shame to lose it that way. I thought we played a better game than they did but they got the break and then took advantage of it.” — Flowing Wells coach Larry Hart to the Tucson Citizen.

DID YOU KNOW: This was only the second Class A title game in history and the first in four years. Host sites alternated between northern and southern schools in the state. Flowing Wells, which started varsity competition in 1954, achieved its first winning season.

BOXSCORE (printed in Tucson Citizen):

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