Safford vs Thatcher; A Look At The History Of The Game

By Lee Patterson

No matter which route you take between Safford and Thatcher High School, it’s only 3.1 miles according to Google Maps. 3.1 miles between one of the best High School Football rivalries in the state of Arizona. 3.1 miles that separate families one night per football season. 3.1 miles of stories about the game, plays and results.

The archives only go back to 1953 and some of the scores have been lost but the outcomes will always be remembered. Below is a complete list of every outcome in the archives from 1953 through 2017.

1953 Safford Win (no score reported)

1954 Safford Win (no score reported)

1955 Safford Win (no score reported)

1956 Safford Win (no score reported)

1957 Safford Win (no score reported)

1958 Safford Win (no score reported)

1959 Safford Win (no score reported)

1960 Safford 14 Thatcher 7

1961 Safford 28 Thatcher 0

1962-1986 Did not play each other. Did you realize that? That’s a 24 year span that this rivalry didn’t happen.

1987 Safford 28 Thatcher 7

1988 Thatcher 28 Safford 0

1989 Safford 12 Thatcher 12

1990 Safford 28 Thatcher 14

1991 Thatcher 12 Safford 12

1992 Safford 20 Thatcher 14

1993 Thatcher 18 Safford 14

1994 Safford 17 Thatcher 14

1995 Thatcher 28 Safford 27

1996 Safford 29 Thatcher 6

1997 Safford win (no score reported)

1998 Thatcher 28 Safford 13

1999 Thatcher 24 Safford 18

2000 Thatcher 26 Safford 0

2001 Thatcher 54 Safford 0

2002 Safford 19 Thatcher 0

2003 Safford 28 Thatcher 6

2004 Thatcher 21 Safford 6

2005 Thatcher 28 Safford 14

2006 Safford 22 Thatcher 21

2007 Thatcher 21 Safford 14

2008 Thatcher 33 Safford 21

2009 Safford 7 Thatcher 6

2010 Safford 41 Thatcher 22

2011 Thatcher 63 Safford 21

2012 Thatcher 51 Safford 7

2013 Thatcher 28 Safford 21

2014 Thatcher 27 Safford 20

2015 Safford 26 Thatcher 6

2016 Thatcher 20 Safford 14

2017 Thatcher 42 Safford 41

There it is, a complete history from 1953 to 2017 of the Thatcher/Safford football game. I didn’t realize that the teams didn’t play each other for 24 years before resuming the rivalry in 1987. Let’s look at some other numbers in the series.

Most points scored in the game:

Thatcher 63 (2011)                       Safford 41 (2010,2017)

Biggest margin of victory:

Thatcher 54 (2001)                      Safford 23 (1996)

Longest winning streak:

Thatcher 4 (1998-2001,2011-2014)             Safford 9 (1953-1961)

Defensive shutouts:

Thatcher 3 (1988,2000,2001)    Safford 1 (2002)

Series Record:

Safford leads 21-18-1

Before the 2017 season, KATO 1230 AM Play by Play broadcaster, Lee Patterson teamed up with Open Loop Energy to create a “Rivalry Trophy” for the series. You can see that trophy in the photo above. This trophy will be a traveling trophy and will be in possession of the winning team for one year.

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