St. Johns coach Mike Morgan, whose teams were toughened over the years by Paul Moro’s Lakeside Blue Ridge’s football teams, now shares with him the title for the most all-time wins in Arizona high school football history.
St. Johns’ 35-7 first-round 2A playoff victory over Phoenix Arizona Lutheran on Friday night gave Morgan his 336th career win, tying Moro, who died in January after battling cancer and strokes.
“Tying Coach Paul Moro, that’s a lot of work,” Morgan said. “It’s really not all my record. The community, the kids, 31 years of working with the kids here, they put a lot of time in, doing summer camps, being in the weight room. A lot of hard work. A lot of years.
“To be on the same number of wins with Coach Moro is something I’m really proud of. Their teams were so disciplined.”
Morgan also thanked the people at Ganado, which gave him his first head high school football coaching job. He won 52 games in seven years there.
Now comes the hard part. Breaking the record. It would have to come against The Arizona Republic’s No. 1-ranked 2A team, Phoenix Christian, in next Friday’s quarterfinal. Phoenix Christian’s only loss came against 3A power American Leadership Academy Queen Creek in a close game.
If Morgan doesn’t get it Friday, there may not be any more games to break the record. He said he isn’t certain if he’ll be back next season.
After retiring in 2014, and coaching the seventh and eighth graders at the junior high in 2015, Morgan figured that was it for his varsity coaching career. But Tony Neubauer coached only one season at St. Johns in 2015, going 7-4, before moving to Iowa.