High School Football

64 Days of Champions: Pueblo wins first official “Big School” championship for Southern Arizona in 1961

John Straw makes a catch at Arizona Stadium. (Jack Sheaffer Photo 12-3-1961)

Down 14-6, the Pueblo Warriors scored 10 points in final quarter to defeat St. Mary’s 16-14 to win the first official Class AA (Big School) championship for a Southern Arizona team in 1961, with the AIA starting playoffs in 1959. St. David won the first official small school title in 1960.

Pueblo went 9-1 in 1958 under Lou Farber to come close to a mythical state championship but his title in 1961 cemented his place his history. Pueblo received five first place votes in 1958 by the AP media but finished third in total points.

St. Mary’s only gained 30 yards in the second half at Arizona Stadium. Richard Martinez hit Roy Morgan to cut the lead down to 14-13 and Gus Moreno made a 21-yard kick with 1:30 left for the 16-14 victory. Morgan scored on a 48-yard run in the first quarter.

1911: Tucson
1912: Tucson
1919: Bisbee
1929: Tucson
1937: Tucson
1941: Bisbee
1942: Tucson and Amphitheater
1943: Tombstone
1944: Tucson and Tombstone
1945: Tucson
1946: Benson
1947: St. David
1948; St. David
1949: Benson and Willcox were runners-up
1950: St. David
1951: Tucson
1952: Tucson
1953: St. David
1954: Benson and Bisbee
1955: Benson
1956: Douglas runner-up
1957: Patagonia
1958: St. David

1959: Patagonia runner-up
1960: St. David
1961: Pueblo
1962: Tucson runner-up

We have 64 days until the high school football season gets underway in Southern Arizona and we will attempt to relive the state championship teams over the last 80 days starting with 1944. The AIA started to recognize state champions in 1959 but teams like Tucson High claimed ten “mythical” state championships before then, starting in 1911 under Pop McKale.

Like last year, the season will roll out with 1A, 2A and 3A starting early on Aug. 23 and the bigger school will start a week later. Flag Football will start on Sept. 17 with Sunnyside, Buena, Tucson, Mountain View and Palo Verde playing on that Tuesday.


Coolidge at Sabino, 7 p.m.

Phoenix Christian at Tanque Verde, 7 p.m.
Willcox at Arizona Lutheran, 7 p.m.
Catalina at Highland Prep, 7 p.m.
Benson at Shadow Mountain, 7 p.m.

Lincoln Prep at San Manuel, 7 p.m.
Fort Thomas at Baboquivari, 7 p.m.
Desert Christian at Bagdad, 7 p.m.
St. David at Cicero Prep, 7 p.m.

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