As a senior, Fred Sims ran for 2,010 yards to lead Sunnyside to the 1980 state semifinals. He went on to play for Barry Switzer at Oklahoma, where he ran for 181 yards in a 1981 Sun Bowl win and for 667 yards in the '82 season.


Through Friday, the Star will count down the top 10 football players from each major Southern Arizona high school program:

School: Sunnyside

The best: Fred Sims

Achievements: As a junior, running back Fred Sims broke the city rushing record with 1,426 yards for the Blue Devils in 1979, adding 16 touchdowns for good measure.

But for Sims, the stellar junior season would be just the beginning. Opposing defenses were helpless against the 5-foot 10-inch, 205-pound back in 1980 as Sims cracked the 2,000-yard mark and scored 33 TDs. The Blue Devils were considered the top team in Arizona before falling 38-14 to Tempe McClintock in a sloppy state semifinal upset.

The first-team Parade All-American and Arizona Player of the Year went from one superpower to another, joining an Oklahoma Sooners team that was coming off an Orange Bowl victory and No. 3 finish in 1980. Unfortunately for Sims, another elite back in Marcus Dupree arrived in Norman, Okla., in 1982, forcing Sims to switch to fullback as a sophomore.

The position change frustrated Sims and he transferred to the UA. But he never played in a game for the Wildcats because of academic issues, and his professional career quickly fizzled out.

From the archives: "I may be prejudiced, but I think Fred may be the best high school back to ever come out of Arizona. If he isn't the best, he's certainly among the top three or four." - Sunnyside coach Paul Petty, Nov. 29, 1980, Tucson Citizen.

The big number: 2,017: Sims' 2,017 rushing yards in 1980 shattered his previous record and was the fourth highest mark in the state at the time. His touchdown total (33) is arguably even more impressive, ranking third highest in the state at the time. The Super 11 back also set the Tucson career yardage mark and averaged an incredible 12.3 yards per carry (3,580 yards on 437 attempts).

Coming up: Find out who the top 10 players to come from Tucson High are Friday, the final day of the series.

On StarNet: Check each day to find photo galleries of the newest list of top-10-players at:

Sunnyside's Top 10

1. Fred Sims, RB/LB, 1981

2. Harry Holt, TE/DE, 1976

3. Philo Sanchez, RB, 2002

4. George Duarte, RB/DB, 1982

5. Xavier Smith, RB, 2005

6. David Adams, RB, 1982

7. Michael Smith, RB, 2006

8. Bobby Valdez, QB, 1987

9. Glenn Posey, WR, 1987

10. David Coronado, FB/LB, 2001

Kyle Johnson