2023 High School Football

2023 Southern Arizona High School Football Spotlight: Rio Rico Hawks


2022 record: 4-6 overall, 2-3 in the 4A Gila (fourth)

2023 record: 0-2 overall

Head coach: Jeff Scurran, 4-8, second season at Rio Rico, 237-75-1 in 26th year as a head coach at Southern Arizona high schools, 315-148-2 overall in 39th year as a high school head coach. 

Rio Rico coach Jeff Scurran is in his 26th year as a high school coach in Southern Arizona, second at Rio Rico (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)


Key returners:

  • QB/DB Angel Godinez, 5-7, 150, Sr.
  • RB Uriel Rivas, 5-4, 150, Sr.
  • RB Hiram Lopez, 5-10, 190, Sr.
  • RB/LB Yassiel Felix, 5-9, 175, Sr.
  • OL/DE Max Plascencia, 6-2, 220, Sr.


Notes: The legendary Jeff Scurran, who has the distinction of turning moribund programs into championship contenders, is in his second year of his challenge of trying to turn around the fortunes of Rio Rico. He enjoyed some success last year with four wins, tying the most over the previous nine seasons. He coached the Hawks to their first win over rival Nogales after starting 0-14 in the series. Scurran, 75, is the 11th different coach to lead the Hawks since the program started in 1997. He took over a program that finished 0-8 in 2021 and has only one winning season in the 26th year of the program — 6-5 in 2013. The huge undertaking fits right into the tasks he has mastered before at Sabino, CDO, Santa Rita and Pima College, and two high school teams in Oregon. He made them all playoff-caliber teams after they struggled mightily before his arrival. “USA Today tells me I’m the only coach they’ve been able to research to have three different 0-10 teams that went to the playoffs in their first year,” Scurran said. “I tell them I’m the craziest guy you know who would take over three 0-10 teams.” … Rio Rico has lost its first two games against Vista Grande and Glendale by a combined 79-0. The Hawks normally play Nogales in the season opener, but that game was pushed back to the third game of the season, to the chagrin of Scurran. Playing Vista Grande and Glendale was not conducive to a team that had only 11 preseason practices because of inclement weather. The limited workouts may have led to substantial injuries to start the year at the quarterback and center positions. …  Offensive and defensive line coach Nick Davis’ father Tim has gone on to an impressive career as an offensive line coach after serving as a graduate assistant at Arizona under Dick Tomey in 1987. He has served as the offensive line coach at Utah, Wisconsin, USC and Florida with also a stint with the Miami Dolphins. … Defensive backs and wide receivers coach Devin Smith is a former standout of Scurran’s at Catalina Foothills. … A new member of Scurran’s staff was one of his captains last year — Jose Perez, who is coaching the linebackers. … Scurran said eight sophomores are experiencing lengthy playing time because of injuries.

Keep an eye out for: RB Uriel Rivas is a 5-foot-4 and 150-pound senior who is a budding soccer player. He is coming off a season with Scurran’s program in which he led the Hawks with 497 yards on 92 carries.


Veteran coach Jeff Scurran recently completed his 39th year overall as a head coach, 26th at a Southern Arizona high school and second year at Rio Rico. His career started in 1970 at a middle school in Atlanta. Researched by AllSportsTucson.com.
1970-71Atlanta (GA) Moreland School20-0
1978Tahoe-Truckee (CA) HS3-5-1
1981Dalles (OR) Wahtonka HS9-2
1982-83Portland (OR) West Linn HS9-10
1984-86CDO HS28-10
1988-99Sabino HS127-27-1
2001-04Pima CC26-17
2007-09Santa Rita HS34-7
2012Guelfi Firenze (Italy)10-2
2013-18Catalina Foothills HS44-23
2019Allgau Comets (Germany)1-5
2021Stuttgart Scorpions (Germany)0-2
2022-23Rio Rico HS8-12
26th yearSouthern AZ HS241-79-1
30th yearAll HS262-96-2
39th yearAll stops319-122-2

The following are some highlights from Scurran’s career that has spanned 53 years. Included among them: Scurran is 51 wins from matching the late Vern Friedli of Amphi for most coaching wins by a Southern Arizona coach at the high school level in this state. Friedli amassed 288. Scurran is at 237.


1982: Wahtonka High School, Oregon.
From 0-18 to the state semifinals in his only year at the school (9-2).

1984: Canyon del Oro
The Dorados went 3-7 in 1982 and Scurran took them to eight wins, including a playoff win, in 1985.

1988: Sabino
Took a 2-8 team to 12-1 in two years and a state championship in 1990.

2001: Pima College
Starting from scratch, Scurran won 26 games in four years and beat the top-ranked team in the nation before returning to the high school level.

2007: Santa Rita
Took an 0-10 team to 11-2 in his first year and a state championship appearance in 2008.

2013: Catalina Foothills.
Took an 0-10 squad to eight wins in his first year and a state championship appearance in 2016.

31. RIO RICO (3-3, 2-0)

Head coach: Jeff Scurran
Hawks compete in the 4A Gila. *Region game. Games at 7 p.m.

8/25Vista GrandeL, 44-00-10-0
9/1at GlendaleL, 35-00-20-0
9/8at NogalesW, 39-01-20-0
9/15FlorenceL, 35-81-30-0
9/22Rincon/University*W, 37-02-31-0
10/6at Sahuarita*W, 38-83-32-0
10/13at Douglas*------
10/27at Empire*------


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 five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Sunnyside High School in the Sunnyside Unified School District

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