2023 High School Football

CDO trying to complete season’s checklist of goals with a 4A state championship

Canyon del Oro running back Kayden Luke bulldozes through Mica Mountain’s defense (Lexie Fegan/Special AllSportsTucson.com)

As the 2023 high school football season began back in August, Canyon del Oro had a few goals — run the table in the regular season, secure the 4A Kino regional championship and achieve the ultimate goal, capture the state championship.

CDO is one game away from checking off all of those goals as the Dorados (13-0) face Yuma Catholic (13-0) in the 4A state championship game Friday at 4 p.m. at Arizona State’s Mountain America Stadium.

CDO head coach Dustin Peace knows what it takes to win a state championship. The 15-year coach of the Dorados has a career record of 118-50 (winning percentage of .702).

This will be his fourth state championship game as a coach — in 2007 as a defensive coordinator under Pat Nugent (current head coach at Mica Mountain) and as head coach in 2009 when his 14-0 team won the 4A title and in 2010 (13-1 finish).

Dustin Peace has led CDO’s program to three state championship games as a head coach (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

This year, the Dorados are heading into the state championship game with an unbeaten record, a senior-heavy roster with 29, a defense that opposing teams have struggled to score against and an offense that is known for it’s hard-hitting running game.

Senior running back Kayden Luke is the muscle behind CDO’s running game. Luke has racked up 2,086 yards on 253 carries and 27 touchdowns. Sharing the backfield with Luke, Joe Alba added 350 yards on 52 carries and 8 touchdowns, Adrian Davidson with 238 yards and Vijay King with 217 yards.

While the Dorados lean heavily on their backfield, their pass game behind senior quarterback Tristen McClelland‘s 16 touchdowns keeps defenses guessing. McClelland connected with wide receiver Chance Cassel for 5 touchdowns and tight end Ryan Madsen for 6 touchdowns.

On the defensive side of the ball, Chase Laux leads the state in interception and has six players with 45 tackles or more. LB Kayden Luke with 62, FS Chase Laux with 61, Evan Greer with 57, CB Izaiah Lucero with 55 and LB Grant Young with 45.

Senior center Morgan Narcorati mentioned that playing his last game in high school for a state championship carries extra significance because it will be the last game he’ll play for Peace and the coaching staff.

“He’s a second dad to us,” Narcorati said of Peace. “Just having him by our side and always supporting us is awesome as a coach. Even as a greater man, he’s taught us all individually so many things in life that I’m going to take with me.

“It’s going to be a pleasure and hopefully we do it in the right way.”

The following is a look at CDO’s road to the 2023 4A state championship game.

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

–CDO outscored opponents 480 to 161.

–The Dorados came out on the winning end of two significant matchups with their 4A Kino region rival Mica Mountain — a 17-15 victory in the regular season and a 23-7 win in the state semifinals.

Peace, grew up under the tutelage of Nugent.

He played for Nugent at Flowing Wells from 1996 through 2000, joined Nugent’s coaching staff at CDO in 2002 and was hired as the Dorados’ head coach in 2009 when Nugent left to coach Pima Community College.

“It’s tough and I want the best for him (Nugent) but they have a very good team, a very young team and the opportunity will be there for them next year for sure.” Peace said after the semifinal victory last week at CDO.

Nugent shares a close friendship of more than 20 years with Peace. Coaching against each other in the same region does not take away from that.

“Dusty’s got a heck of a football team this year,” Nugent said after last week’s game in his team was limited to a season-low seven points and 27 yards rushing. “They have a workhorse (Luke) that’s going to pound it all day and keep it going. Their defense flies around the field. Their defense was amazing tonight.

“Whatever we did, they adjusted and made us look silly. Dusty’s a great coach; he’s always been a great coach. He’s got another great shot to win a state title.”

–CDO survived an epic four-overtime game against AZ College Prep in the quarterfinals of the state playoffs — the kind of exhilarating victory that can put a charge into a team in the postseason because they remained alive after coming close to elimination.

Heading into Friday’s game for state bragging rights and the 4A state championship trophy, Peace said, “It’s going to be a real clash of two teams that are a little more similar. Probably the first team this season that will really, legitimately try to run the ball against us, so we are excited about that challenge and we’ve been waiting for that opportunity.”

Two undefeated teams striving for the same goal, to bring home the 4A state title, a game the Dorados need to win to check off that final goal set at the beginning of the season.

State Championship Southern Arizona Coaches

A list of head coaches who won state titles at Southern Arizona high schools. * - Game ended in a tie
1960CJim CrawfordSt. DavidTuba City
1961AALou FarberPuebloSt. Mary's
1964BDuane MorrisonMaranaWillcox
1965AAJohn MallamoTucsonYuma Union
1966AAJohn MallamoTucsonWestwood
1968BDon HawkinsMaranaRound Valley
1969AADick PottleSaffordWinslow
1970AAAOllie MayfieldTucsonSunnyslope
1971AAAOllie MayfieldTucsonTempe
1971AADick PottleSaffordFlowing Wells
1972CJim CrawfordSt. DavidFredonia
1973AAAVan HowePalo VerdeCamelback
1975AAAJerry LoperAmphiMaryvale
1975AALarry HartFlowing WellsSnowflake
1976AABob SmithCanyon del OroDouglas
1976ACliff MartinMorenciPage
1976CJohn MilfordTucson Deaf & BlindMayer
1977AABob SmithCanyon del OroGilbert
1977CJim CrawfordSt. DavidFredonia
1979AAAVern FriedliAmphiMesa
1979CJim CrawfordSt.DavidSalome
1981ADamon BeckerSan ManuelBuckeye
1982BPaul HanleyWillcoxBlue Ridge
1982CSteve SorceSuffolk HillsPima
1985CGary MauldinValley UnionWestern Christian
1986BJesse HughesThatcherWillcox
1986CGary MauldinValley UnionNW Christian
1987CBill HousePatagoniaValley Union
1988BEd ShameyThatcherHayden
1988CBill HousePatagoniaScottsdale Christian
19904AJeff ScurranSabinoPeoria
1991*1ABill HousePatagoniaFredonia
19924AJeff ScurranSabinoWashington
19934AWayne JonesMountain ViewSahuaro
1994*4AHoward BreinigSahuaro Peoria
19971AJohn BryantSt. David Mogollon
19984AJeff ScurranSabinoMesa Mountain View
19982AJim HughesThatcherQueen Creek
19981AJohn BryantSt. DavidOrme School
20002ADon ConradThatcherSt. Johns
20001AJohn BryantSt. DavidBagdad
20014ARichard SanchezSunnysideGreenway
20012ADon ConradThatcherPhoenix Christian
20011AJohn BryantSt. DavidJoseph City
20034ARichard SanchezSunnysideCactus
20054AD2Todd MayfieldPalo VerdeMingus Union
20062ADon ConradThatcherValley Christian
20071ATony LuzaniaValley UnionPima
20094ADustin PeaceCanyon del OroSabino
2012D2Matt JohnsonIronwood RidgeCentennial
2013D2Dennis BeneSalpointeChaparral
2015D4Troy CoppPusch RidgeNW Christian
20162ASean HintonThatcherRound Valley
20172ASean HintonThatcherSanta Cruz
20182ARamon MoralesThatcherRound Valley
20214AJake BarroCasa GrandePoston Butte
20233ARyan McBrayerSabinoParadise Honors
20234ADustin PeaceCDOYuma Catholic


0Gattlin MilesSr.5’10”140
1Reece DouglasKSo.6’0″180
2Izaiah LuceroCB, SBSr.5’8″150
3Ethan LewisSr.5’10”135
4Collin SampSr.
7Gavin BowerQBJr.6’1″160
8/54Evan GreerJr.
9Sean YoungSo.5’11”175
10Chance CasselSr.
11Austin GreerSr.
12Cash DickeySo.
13Peyton StrangQBFr.5’10”
14Chase LauxFS, WRSr.5’9″165
15Hollace NeashamKSr.6’4″180
16Ryan MadsenSr.6’1″200
17Tristen McclellandQBSr.6’3″190
18Nathan HartmanSr.
19Sean RowlandWRSr.
20Jordan WiebeSr.6’0″170
21Vijay KingSr.5’8″190
22Nick MondragonFB, MLBJr.5’11”180
23Joe AlbaRB, CBSr.5’9″180
24Dylan DawesSr.
28Adrian DavidsonRB, LBSr.
30Kayden LukeSr.5’11”220
32Aaron RamirezSr.
33Grant YoungSr.
35Mason BootheTE, OLBJr.
44Blake ShollSr.
50Dakota CoutureSr.6’3″205
52Stayton BrooksSr.
55Sa’Kylee WoodardT, DTSr.6’3″285
56Caleb DooleyMLBSo.5’10”195
57James VaughnCSo.6’2″
58Tyler CruceSr.
60Elijah UnsworthJr.5’9″170
61Omaree StubblefieldDE, TESr.6’2″214
62Gabriel RuvalcabaJr.
72Aaron JacobsenT, NGSr.6’3″315
74Morgan NarcarotiSr.
75Tayden WaddelJr.
77Jayden Tipton-WiebeJr.
78John Landon TorresSr.

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