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CHAMPIONSHIP: Class 2A
SCORE: Thatcher 28, Eloy Santa Cruz 27 (OT)
DATE: November 25, 2017
SITE: Gilbert Campo Verde High School
GAME SUMMARY: Santa Cruz’s quest for a title and an unbeaten season under coach Rishard Davis, a former Arizona football player who served as an assistant at Flowing Wells and Pusch Ridge, was cut short in an overtime thriller.
Thatcher won the rematch of the 2A semifinal from the previous year, in which it won 27-26.
Thatcher finished 13-1 after winning the 2017 title over Santa Cruz, which went 12-1.
Eagles quarterback Tyler Roebuck scored two touchdowns late in the fourth quarter to help his team force overtime.
Santa Cruz looked like it was on its way to victory taking a 21-8 lead late in the third quarter after a 59-yard touchdown pass from Jesus Cosillos to Seth Perez and a 5-yard touchdown run by Alex Wyble-Meza.
Santa Cruz then turned back Thatcher’s scoring threat with an interception in the end zone by safety Samuel Camacho.
Roebuck rebounded engineering the late scoring drives, both culminating with him rushing for TDs, the last coming on a 10-yard score with 24 seconds remaining in regulation that tied the game at 21. The extra-point attempt was blocked, forcing overtime.
Thatcher had the first possession of overtime and scored a touchdown on the fourth play — Riley Morris’ 4-yard run for the score. The successful extra-point kick followed and the Eagles led 28-21.,
Santa Cruz scored on its first play when Cosillos scrambled for the 10-yard touchdown, making the score 28-27. The extra-point attempt failed, sailing just left of the upright, and Thatcher came away with the state title.
THEY SAID IT: “Hats off to Santa Cruz. That was a battle. It’s a hell of a ball team.” — Thatcher coach Sean Hinton to AZPreps365.com.
DID YOU KNOW: Rishard Davis made history coaching Santa Cruz to the 2021 Class 2A state championship with a 42-7 rout of Benson, becoming the first African-American head coach to win an Arizona Interscholastic Association state football championship. Davis then left Santa Cruz after seven years at the school to return to his home in Maplesville, Ala., to be an assistant coach of a high school so he can be closer to family.