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CHAMPIONSHIP: Class 4A
SCORE: Sahuaro 17, Peoria 17 (tie)
DATE: December 9, 1994
SITE: Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe (15,561 in attendance)
GAME SUMMARY: Sahuaro (11-1-1) rallied late to tie Peoria and achieve the first state championship for legendary coach Howard Breinig, who announced he was stepping down that season.
Breinig took home the trophy for Sahuaro, albeit a tie, after coming up short in championship games in championship games of 1984, 1991 and 1993.
The Arizona Interscholastic Association at the time did not include overtime for state championship games.
Just when it appeared Breinig will be denied again, quarterback Aaron Dumsch came through and drove the Cougars 77 yards in 12 plays, taking only 2:28.
Dumsch scored on a 6-yard run and then added a 2-point conversion run on a sweep off left tackle to tie the game with 1:27 left.
Dumsch completed 6 of 8 pass attempts in the drive after going 6 of 17 in the game beforehand. He finished 12 for 25 for 135 yards.
The late-game heroics awoke a Sahuaro offense that failed to score within the Peoria 30 two times in the third quarter.
Omar Bacon, who went on to play at Utah, broke free on a 39-yard run to open the scoring in Sahuaro’s first possession of the game.
Peoria immediately responded with a 91-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that consisted of Kenny Worthy fielding the kick and then handing off to Tavon Cooper, who raced to the end zone.
A 27-yard field goal by Aaron Welch later in the first quarter gave Peoria a 10-7 lead.
Sahuaro made it 10-9 in the third quarter on a safety resulting from Chris Spur blocking Welch’s punt out of the end zone.
Cooper’s 7-yard touchdown run, capping a 57-yard drive, with 5:27 left in the fourth quarter increased Peoria’s lead to 17-9.
DID YOU KNOW: Sahuaro was awarded the championship trophy while Peoria coach Doug Clapp agreed to take the runner-up trophy as a showing of respect for Breinig. Peoria was ultimately given a championship trophy as well. Breinig earned the title in his 176th and last game of his head coaching career. He coached Rincon/University and Sahuaro from 1976-78 and 1983-94, respectively. He finished 118-53-5.
THEY SAID IT: “We were going to flip a coin and (Clapp) said, ‘Take it.’ I’m never going to put this thing down. I’ve been in this game since the fourth grade, every day, every year. It has been the main focus of my whole life. I’ve worked really hard at football and I never did what I wanted to do, until tonight.” — Breinig to the Arizona Daily Star.
BOXSCORE (printed in the Tucson Citizen):