Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Tombstone seniors Dometrious Fenning (12) and Jeremy McCoy (30) help lead the team through the tunnel. They will exit the tunnel and enter the newly dedicated field on Friday, Oct. 22. The No. 29 Yellow Jackets host the No. 3 Benson Bobcats. Since defeating the Bobcats 43-22 in Tombstone on Sept. 29, 2006, the Bobcats have reeled off 15 straight wins, averaging a 50-12 (743-180) score per game.
By Raymundo Frasquillo
TOMBSTONE – It isn’t every day others recognize your life’s work, purposely helping to mold and shape young lives, not merely in being good and productive student-athletes playing a game, but in being good and productive citizens, teaching lessons in life.
One such community in an out-of-the-way small Arizona town will be doing just that. The school district in “The town too tough to die” will be naming its high school football field in honor of the late Michael James Hayhurst on Friday, Oct. 22, beginning at 4 p.m.
The field is currently known as, “The Rock,” said THS athletic director Brian Miller. The event precedes the homecoming and San Pedro Region game between the No. 29 Tombstone Yellow Jackets (2-5 overall, minus 8.9864 rating, 0-3 region) and the No. 3 Benson Bobcats (5-2, 9.3731, 2-1). Since defeating Benson 43-22 in Tombstone (Sept. 29, 2006), the Bobcats have reeled off 15 wins, averaging a 50-12 (743-180) score per game.
Benson is third and Tombstone is sixth of six teams currently in region standing. The Bobcats have a 33-10 (266-76) score per game or a 23-point margin while the Yellow Jackets have a 16-35 (115-245) average score per game or a 19-point deficit.
The Bobcats have wins of 41-0 over Tucson Tanque Verde (Sept. 10), 57-0 over Phoenix NFL Yet (Sept. 17), 42-7 over Phoenix Veritas Prep (Sept. 24), 56-14 over Bisbee (Oct. 8), and 42-7 over Morenci (Oct. 15). The losses were 34-21 to Tucson Pusch Ridge Christian (Aug. 27) and 14-7 to Pima (Oct. 1).
Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets’ wins were over Tucson schools Santa Rita (42-0, Aug. 27) and Catalina (47-0, Sept. 24). The losses were 35-0 to Chandler Prep (Sept. 3), 54-6 to Tucson Tanque Verde (Sept. 17), 53-14 to Willcox (Oct. 1), 58-6 to Morenci (Oct. 8), and 45-0 to Pima (Oct. 14).
Hayhurst coached in Tombstone from 1997-2010 and from 2015-18. The Yellow Jackets went 5-7 in the 2A state playoffs from 2000-05, ending as semifinalists in 2004, and thrice as quarterfinalists (2002-03, 2005). Tombstone also succumbed thrice in the first round, in 2001-02, and in 2016 to tonight’s opponent, falling 63-25 to No. 5 Benson as No. 12.
During a career spanning 52 years, he also coached at Benson, Marana, Marana Mountain View, Casa Grande, and Sierra Vista Buena. Hayhurst is a graduate of Tucson High and Northern Arizona University, with degrees in chemistry/biology and education. He lost his life at age 79 on May 31, 2021.