No. 3: Sabino outlasts Peoria 31-28 in 1990 championship battle of unbeatens


No. 3


SCORE: Sabino 31, Peoria 28

DATE: December 7, 1990

SITE: Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe (approximately 15,000 in attendance)

Sabino coach Jeff Scurran hugs linebacker Jarrett Hansen after the 1990 state title game (Tucson Citizen)

GAME SUMMARY: Sabino earned its first state title and capped a perfect 14-0 season under Jeff Scurran with its most difficult challenge of the season — trailiing twice to Peoria after falling behind only once previously in the season.

The game boiled down to Tom Brown throwing a 15-yard touchdown pass to his best friend Kip Canatsey with 2:39 left in the game, followed by the Sabercat defense forcing Peoria to turn the ball over on downs at the Sabino 42 with 36 seconds remaining.

Sabino drove 79 yards for the go-ahead touchdown after Peoria took a 28-24 lead with 6:21 remaining on a 6-yard pass from Kris Hedding to Armando Castro.

A pass-interference call gave Sabino a first down at its 40 on the second play of the possession. Brown then passed to Roberto Moreno for 39 yards to the Panthers’ 19. Brown found Canatsey in the end zone on the next play.

Canatsey made a twisting catch with one foot in bound, in the right corner of the end zone. Cole Ford add the PAT to give Sabino its 31-28 margin.

The Panthers (13-1) moved from their 18 to Sabino’s 45 in four plays. Sabino safety Manny Olague then broke up two passes from Heddings with bone-jarring tacles, both of which drew protests from Peoria coach Doug Clapp, who thought Olague interfered on both plays.

On third down, Olague tackled Peoria receiver Robert Logan at the Sabino 12 a split second after he apparently caught the pass. Logan dropped the ball and was forced out of the game with an injury.

Then, on fourth down, Olague knocked Castro backward when he attempted to catch a pass. Castro was on the ground for awhile before walking off.

Sabino showed its resiliency after Peoria scored with 23 seconds remaining for a 21-14 halftime lead. The Sabercats rallied to regain the lead on a Brown-to-Canatsey 10-yard touchdown pass and Ford’s 32-yard field goal.

Olague also scored on a 1-yard run in the first half and finished with 53 yards on nine carries.

Sabino’s Chris McFarland was the game’s leading rusher with 89 yards on five carries after missing two days of practice earlier in the week because of a bout with the flu.

THEY SAID IT: “We kept coming back and at the end, I guess our kids just wanted it more. I’m not sure of what we did and how we did it. All we talked about was that we were not going to give up. We had to keep believing and keep plugging, and things were going to roll our way.” — Sabino coach Jeff Scurran to the Tucson Citizen.

DID YOU KNOW: Four members of Sabino’s team signed with Division I schools — defensive back Manny Olague with Arizona, linebacker Jarrett Hansen with Illinois, place-kicker Cole Ford with USC and running back Bill Swoger (Hawaii). Olague was with the Wildcats through his junior season.

BOXSCORE (printed in Tucson Citizen):

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