From Dolphins to Dorados, 15 of Canyon del Oro’s players are champions again.
Four years after beating the Sahuarita 49ers for the TYFSF 13U city championship with the Oro Valley Dolphins, 15 of them were part of the Dorados’ team that beat Yuma Catholic 35-27 for the 4A state championship Friday at Tempe.
The relationships from a young age created a bond that made CDO tough to beat.
The Dorados finished 14-0, the same record they achieved while winning their previous title in 2009, Dustin Peace’s first season as head coach.
“It’s very cool; a similar feeling of going back and trying to do the same thing,” center Morgan Narcaroti said before Friday’s game. “We’re just so tight. We hang out with each other second of the day, pretty much. I was with my friends on Thanksgiving.
“We were just doing our thing. It’s a really cool testament to the bond we share together.”
Two of the former Dolphins — bulldozing running back Kayden Luke and swift athlete Chase Laux at safety and wideout — accounted for most of CDO’s offense and four of the Dorados’ touchdowns against Yuma Catholic.
Luke rushed for 217 yards on 31 carries with two touchdowns.
Laux scored on an 80-yard end-around play and 9-yard reverse.
“It’s cool because it’s a moment of, ‘We did this,’ when we were 13 when we won it last time,” Laux said. “It kind of ends off our legacy here in Tucson.”
TYFSF president Julius Holt presents the 13U championship trophy to the Oro Valley Dolphins. pic.twitter.com/wNXLHiZfLt
— Javier Morales (@JavierJMorales) November 3, 2019
2019 ORO VALLEY DOLPHINS TYFSF CITY CHAMPS
Bubba Mustain QB/LB (Pusch Ridge)
Tyler Martinez WR/CB (Salpointe)
Tyler Cruce FB/DE (CDO)
Austin Greer WR/S (CDO)
Chase Laux WR/CB (CDO)
Colby Harris RB/LB (Basis Oro Valley)
Brody Jones WR/CB (CDO)
Christian Durazo T/DE (Ironwood Ridge)
Tyler Drescher WR/CB (Pusch Ridge)
Tristan McClelland QB/LB (CDO)
Chance Cassel WR/S (CDO)
Kayden Luke RB/LB (CDO)
Aaron Ramirez RB/LB (CDO)
Alex Vargas G/DE (Palmer Ridge in Colorado)
Joe Alba RB/DE (CDO)
Stayton Brooks TE/S (CDO)
Blake Sholl G/DE (CDO)
Ryan Madsen G/DT (CDO)
Jordan Wiebe G/LB (CDO)
Levi Peters T/DT (Salpointe)
Sa’Kaylee Woodard T/DT (CDO)
Daniel Lopez T/DT (Ironwood Ridge)
Zachary Chretin T/DT (Ironwood Ridge)
Morgan Narcaroti C/DT (CDO)
CHUCK CECIL AND OTHERS IN ATTENDANCE
Arizona legend Chuck Cecil, who coaches the Wildcats’ defensive backs, was in attendance for CDO’s game with Yuma Catholic at Tempe. Coaches from ASU, NAU and NCAA Division II programs were also at Mountain America Stadium.
This is a no-contact period with recruiting so all the coaches could do is watch and be observed by recruits.
Arizona presently has not offered a scholarship to players with either CDO or Yuma Catholic.
Luke, the state’s top rusher with with 2,303 yards on 284 rushes with 29 touchdowns, does not have a star rating with 247 Sports or Rivals.
Cecil was in the same position in 1982 coming out of Helix High School in La Mesa, Calif., as an undersized, 150-pound defensive back chasing a dream as a walk-on at Arizona.
Jared Tevis, interviewed during a recent All Sports Tucson Talk podcast, was a member of CDO’s previous state title team in 2009 who walked on at Arizona and became a two-time All-Pac-12 honorable mention selection as a safety with the Wildcats.
Luke’s dominance in the state championship game against Yuma Catholic will make him legendary.
He will attempt to repeat as a state-champion wrestler after going 51-0 with a title at 215 pounds last year with the Dorados.
STRONG RUNNING GAMES KEY TO TUCSON STATE TITLES
Tucson has two state champions in the same season for the first time since 1976, when CDO and Arizona School for the Deaf & Blind accomplished the feat. Flowing Wells and Amphi each won a state title the previous year in 1975.
A similarity between CDO and Sabino was their dominant running performances in the state championship games.
Luke’s output against Yuma Catholic occurred six days after Mason Cade ran all over Surprise Paradise Honors’ defense in the 3A state championship game in Phoenix.
Cade finished with 374 yards on 23 carries and five touchdowns in Sabino’s 68-46 win.
CDO and Sabino also did not allow their opponents to run successfully after they each took a big lead.
Yuma Catholic rushed for only 40 yards on 20 carries and Paradise Honors’ running backs accumulated just 39 yards on 10 carries. The Panthers’ quarterback, Gage Baker, rushed for 87 yards on 14 carries, mostly out of desperation while flushed out of the pocket, not on designed plays.
When ASDB won the Class C title in 1976, it rushed for 287 yards on 51 carries while limiting Mayer to 74 yards rushing on 25 carries in the 42-22 win. Brian Dibble led the Sentinels with 151 yards on 27 carries with three touchdown runs (including one of 67 yards).
In CDO’s win over Douglas in the AA state championship in 1976, the Dorados’ wishbone offense under coach Bob Smith gained 221 yards on the ground with running back Greg Connor rushing for 158.
GRANDFATHER AND GRANDSON PART OF UNBEATEN STATE CHAMPS
Almost 50 years after he won a state title with Flowing Wells with a 10-0 record in 1975 as a starting center, Rick Sholl watched his grandson Blake Sholl win a title with unbeaten CDO on Friday night.
Rick Sholl earned all-city honorable mention honors in 1975 playing for the legendary Larry Hart.
Peace is a Flowing Wells grad who coached the Dorados and Blake Sholl, a senior linebacker, to the championship Friday.
Grandfather and Grandson!
1975 Undefeated State Champions (Flowing Wells)
2023 Undefeated State Champions (CDO)
Love that they both got to experience this amazing accomplishment! pic.twitter.com/BAv60gfVXR
— Shyla Wells (@SpedTchrWells) December 2, 2023
Peace’s name is synonymous with the high school coaching legends Tucson has produced, especially after CDO’s championship.
He’s right up there with Sabino’s Jeff Scurran and Tucson’s Ollie Mayfield.
He joins Mayfield, Tucson’s John Mallamo, Sunnyside’s Richard Sanchez and CDO’s Bob Smith as two-time champions. Scurran coached Sabino to three titles.
Peace completed his 15th season as head coach at CDO, and 22nd overall, including his time as an assistant under Pat Nugent at CDO.
He has two young sons, Dominic and DIego, who accepted CDO’s Citizenship Award (voted on by referees) along with Peace’s wife Georgina at halftime of the Dorados’ game Friday.
Family means everything to him, especially considering his background as a homeless teen while attending Flowing Wells. He credits Nugent and other coaches, teachers and administrators at Flowing Wells for saving his life.
Luke made a point to comment on how grateful the Dorados are that Peace sacrifices some of his time with his family to coach the players.
“Coach Peace takes care of us like we’re his own kids,” Luke said after Friday’s victory. “There are some days where he doesn’t even see his family because he’s with us for so long. I want to thank his wife and I want to thank his children for sacrificing their father and husband so he can have what we have.
“We made it possible for him to be proud because look at what we just did.”
CDO loses 29 seniors from this year’s team. Next season will be a year to reload.
Although Peace is young at 41, age is not really substantial factoring in being a parent and family man. It’s a delicate balance with coaching.
More power to him.
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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 in 2016 and is presently a special education teacher at Sunnyside High School in the Sunnyside Unified School District.