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CHAMPIONSHIP: Class 4A (known as Class AA at the time)
SCORE: Flowing Wells 14, Snowflake 13
DATE: November 21, 1975
SITE: Tempe McClintock High School
GAME SUMMARY: Flowing Wells’ defense continually held back Snowflake, most notably with a late interception and fumble recovery, to eke out the school’s first state championship.
The Caballeros also finished unbeaten at 10-0 under Larry Hart while handing Snowflake (10-1) its first loss.
Flowing Wells built a 14-7 halftime, but a fumble late in the third quarter eventually turned into a touchdown possession for Snowflake.
The Lobos’ Brian Aldridge, who recovered the fumble at the Flowing Wells 37, scored 10 plays later on a 1-yard run to cut the lead to 14-13.
Snowflake lined up in kick formation for the extra point but holder Ken Harsha rolled out after receiving the snap and threw an incomplete pass in the end zone.
An offsides penalty against Flowing Wells, provided Snowflake another opportunity for two points to take the lead, but Scott Sanderlin and Bruce Herman stopped Aldridge short of the goal line.
Flowing Wells drove from its 20 to the Snowflake 39 on the next possession before Snowflake recovered a fumble.
The Caballeros’ defense responded by forcing Snowflake to turn the ball over on downs, but the offense could not get subsequently get a first down so they had to punt.
With third-and-four at the Flowing Wells 49, Lewis’ halfback pass picked off by the Cabs’ Jeff McIntosh, who had two picks in the game. Two plays later, the Caballeros gave the ball right back to Snowflake with an interception.
With 1:40 remaining, Flowing Wells’ Kevin Mead recovered a fumble at the Snowflake 45 and the Caballeros were able to run out the clock to put an end to the frenzied game and capture the title.
It was the Caballeros’ first state title in six tries.
Flowing Wells opened the scoring in the second quarter on a blocked punt by Chuck Ragels in which he recovered the ball in the end zone. Ragels’ extra-point try failed and Flowing Wells led 6-0.
Snowflake stormed back on its next possession, which was capped by Harsha finding Herbie Fite all alone in the end zone on a fourth-and-13 play at the Caballero 17. Aldridge’s PAT gave Snowflake a 7-6 lead.
McIntosh’s first interception of the game set up Flowing Well’s go-ahead score before halftime. Benny Jimenez threw a screen pass to John Bray, who ran 43 yards to the end zone. Jimenez’s two-point conversion pass to Allen Briscoe gave the Caballeros a 14-7 lead.
THEY SAID IT: “It was definitely our best defensive effort of the season. It looked like the so-called jinx would continue there for a while. The two goal-line stands were important because they gave us a tremendous boost and momentum.” — Flowing Wells coach Larry Hart told the Tucson Citizen in reference to his four unsuccessful trips to the state championship game previously and two goal-line stands in the third quarter that preserved the Caballeros’ lead.
DID YOU KNOW: Hart, a graduate of Amphi High School and Idaho, served 34 years as a teacher, guidance counselor, administrator and coach in Arizona. He retired from his position as assistant superintendent of personnel for Flowing Wells Public Schools in 1987. He was a successful high school football coach for 25 years, amassing 146 wins, and earning many honors, including inductions into both the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame and the National High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He passed away at age 83 in 2015.
BOXSCORE (printed in Tucson Citizen):