Upstart Tanque Verde wins statement against reigning state champions


The Tanque Verde Hawks took another step forward in their rise as a legitimate threat in southern Arizona with their 23-6 victory over defending State 2A champions Eloy Santa Cruz Valley Dust Devils on Friday. evening at home.

The victory was more than just a hard-fought victory against a great opponent of the Hawks. The victory secured the program’s first winning season in school history (they started playing college football in 2007).

Tanque Verde’s Kaden Eichinger prepares to shoot against Santa Cruz Valley’s Logan Ortega (D’Andre Davis /

Jay dobyns, a former Arizona Wildcat star, has been at the helm for two years now at Tanque Verde, and there have already been major improvements to a schedule that was once on a 19-game losing streak before it got there.

The Hawks started 3-0 last year before their season was cut short due to Covid-19 issues.

“The little things for other people are still very big things for us, we always try to show people that we are relevant,” said Dobyns after the win over Santa Cruz.

This victory for the Hawks is also another first. This gives them the opportunity to make their first playoff appearance in school history.

“It’s not the same Tanque Verde that people are used to,” Dobyns said.

The game itself was a hard-hitting contest, with both sides showing little in the first half.

Both offenses struggled, but did just enough to instill a sense of urgency on the other sidelines with their practices before they were finally stopped. The hot potato game continued throughout the first half.

At the end of the second quarter, the Hawks managed to get deep into Dust Devil’s territory and were able to get onto the plateau first thanks to a Brian Bergheim Field goal 20 yards to give Tanque Verde a 3-0 before halftime.

As the Hawks scored 23 points on the night after being limited to three in the first half, Dobyns feels there were plenty of points left on the pitch.

“Well it was a low score on the scoreboard but it wasn’t a low score, we left three touchdowns on the field and we had two recalled touchdowns. It was a 50 point offensive performance from us tonight, ”he said.

“The scoreboard didn’t have the points, but our offense certainly did.”

The third quarter was about the same for both teams, until an excellent punt return from Tanque Verde put them inside the Dust Devils 40-yard line.

Then the player simply known as “Biscuit” took over.

Brayden scott, who received his nickname on the first day of camp when he had written “B. Scott” on a piece of duct tape on his helmet to help the new staff identify their players, took a transfer and brought down the Hawks at 3 yard-line.

Dobyns called Scott on the next game and he found the end zone for the first time that night for each team.

“For the past two years he’s been a consistent player for us,” said Dobyns. “He’s a junior, so we’ll have him for another year. He’s just a soccer kid. He has a high football IQ.

“It was awesome scoring those two touchdowns, I mean I owe it to the O linemen. They did their job, it was awesome, and yes defensively it was just right down we all got together beaten, ”said Scott, who plays both linebacker and running back for the Hawks.

The victorious Tanque Verde Hawks celebrate with their fans after defeating the Santa Cruz Valley Dust Devils 23-6 on reunion night. (From André Davis /

Scott was called up again at the end of the third quarter, and on the last play of the quarter he found the end zone again, this time 10 yards away.

And after a game that saw three points in the first 36 minutes, “Biscuit” began to light up the Hawks’ scoreboard.

It wasn’t just him though. His companion who runs away Aaron Wentz scored to give a 23-0 lead at the time.

Santa Cruz Valley would put the ball into the end zone as the game touched down on its final minutes, on a pass from Adrian Diaz-Gonzalez To Adrien brown.

The Hawks (5-3, 1-1 in 2A Rillito) will move to take on the struggling Catalina Trojans (1-8, 0-3) next Friday at 7 p.m.

Santa Cruz Valley (4-5, 2-1) will face the Santa Rita Eagles (1-7, 1-1) at home next Friday.

If the Dust Devils win, they will be 5-5 and take the 2A Rillito title, giving them an automatic playoff berth to defend their 2A playoff title. Editorial Intern Harrison moreno is a native of southern Arizona who has watched Wildcat athletics since he was young. He recently graduated from the University of Arizona School of Journalism, majoring in audiovisual and audio journalism.


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