2023 High School Football

2023 football: 50 top Southern Arizona seniors — CDO quarterback Tristen McClelland

Today marks only 22 days until the kickoff of the 2023 Southern Arizona high school football season with games scheduled Aug. 18. AllSportsTucson.com is listing 50 of the top seniors in Southern Arizona during this stretch. This is not a ranking. We acknowledge more than 50 quality seniors will play on high school fields locally this fall and we will report on them accordingly.

Tristen McClelland, 6-foot-2 and 175 pounds, was thrust into the starting quarterback role last season and he flourished despite a lack of experience. He completed 77 of 124 pass attempts for 1,502 yards with 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. … His top game was in a win against Pueblo when he completed 13 of 15 pass attempts for 237 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. … In his second road game as a starter, McClelland completed 10 of 13 pass attempts for 178 yards in a win over Phoenix St. Mary’s. He had two touchdowns and no interceptions. … He has built his strength from last season, benching 180 pounds and squatting 350. … Accomplished student with a 4.00 GPA.

CDO coach Dustin Peace on McClelland: “Tristen McClelland has shown the most growth on our team. From being thrown into the hot seat week three last year to leading our team to the (4A) semifinals says it all. His resilience through the whole process has been amazing and now he feels he earned keys to the offense. This has allowed us to spend the off-season perfecting our offense to fit his strengths even more. It is so fun to work with hi because the only thing he cares about is the success of the team. If I ask him to hand the ball of 90 percent of the time this season, he will say, ‘Yes sir.’ It is so refreshing in this day and age of football when you have the commander of the offense modeling a team-first approach because that’s what unites a team. With the experience he learned last year, he will take our offense to the next level.”

CDO’s Tristen McClelland had 1,502 passing yards in his first season at the varsity level last year (CDO photo)

2. CANYON DEL ORO (13-0)

Head coach: Dustin Peace
Dorados compete in the 4A Kino. Bold are playoff games. Championship 12/1 starts at 4 p.m. at ASU.
9/1at Bradshaw MountainW427
9/8Desert ViewW5020
9/15at AmphiW410
9/22at MaranaW4921
10/6at Catalina FoothillsW5014
10/13Mica MountainW1715
10/20at PuebloW467
11/3Walden GroveW219
11/9Poston ButteW4520
11/17AZ College PrepW (4OT)3327
11/24Mica MountainW237
12/1Yuma Catholic


ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator seven years ago and is presently a special education teacher at his alma mater Sunnyside High School.

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