Former Cholla Charger Vance Johnson went to Arizona and was named first-team All-Pac-10 in 1982. Later he excelled with the Denver Broncos.


Over the next four weeks, the Star will count down the top 10 football players from each major Southern Arizona high school program:

School: Cholla

The best: Vance Johnson

Achievements: Before becoming one of the top receivers in Denver Broncos history, Johnson made his name known at Cholla as one of Tucson's top running backs. He led the Chargers to an 8-3 record in 1980, at the time Cholla's best in 12 years, and racked up 1,382 yards on the ground to become an All-State, All-Metro and Super 11 selection. He went on to excel at the UA, gaining 1,873 yards in his career and was named first-team All-Pac-10 in 1982. Johnson, who won an NCAA championship in the long jump, was a second-round, 31st overall pick by Denver in the 1985 NFL draft.

From the archives: "He's the best running back in the city this year." - Tucson High School coach Bill Dawson, in the Nov. 8, 1980, Arizona Daily Star. Johnson had big competition for that title in 1980 with Sunnyside and eventual Oklahoma running back Fred Sims also around.

The big number: 3. Johnson appeared in three Super Bowls during his time with the Denver Broncos. He was also the most successful of the "Three Amigos" receiving core, finishing fifth in team history in catches (415), sixth in touchdowns (37) and seventh in yards (5,695).

Coming up: The top 10 players from Cienega revealed Saturday.

Kyle Johnson

On StarNet: Check each day during the series to find the newest addition to the Star's galleries of top 10 football players at each major Southern Arizona school

Cholla's top 10

1. Vance Johnson, RB, 1981

2. Randy Hunter, SE/DB, 1980

3. Mike Scurlock, ATH, 1990

4. Jonas Eldridge, RB, 1984

5. Tom Lodge, WR, 1971

6. Cody House, QB, 2006

7. Kirk Warburton, LB, 1971

8. Chris Corral, ATH, 1989

9. John Denny Jr., TE/DB, 1998

10. James Wimberly, ATH, 2011