Palo Verde High School standout Robert Fowler. Submitted photo

Editor’s note: This summer, Star columnist Greg Hansen is counting down the top 10 of just about everything related to Tucson sports.

Today’s list: The top 10 undefeated high school football teams in Tucson history.

Van Howe was told the 1973 football season would be his last at Palo Verde High School. He was 64 and the school district then had a policy of mandatory retirement at 65.

It wasn’t that the former UA assistant coach had stoked much anticipation for the ’73 season. The Titans were coming off a 3-7 season and were 41-57-1 since Howe became the first football coach in PVHS history, 1962.

But behind senior running back Robert Fowler, the Titans rolled to a 12-0 record entering the state championship game against Phoenix Camelback. It didn’t look good; Camelback led 20-15 with six minutes remaining.

Quarterback Chuck Helms drove the Titans 80 yards, leading to the winning touchdown with 34 seconds to play; Palo Verde won 22-20. Howe retired from coaching and teaching at year’s end.

The Titans are No. 5 on our Top 10 list of Tucson’s undefeated state football champions: 


Greg graduated from Utah State, worked at two Utah newspapers, the St. Petersburg Times, the Albany Democrat-Herald in Oregon and moved to Tucson to cover UA football and baseball. He became the Star's sports columnist in 1984.