Posted: Saturday, October 18, 2014 12:00 am

In watching film on Friday’s opponent, Highland, Basha coaches noticed a few coverage schemes they deemed advantageous. Quarterback Ryan Kelley more than took advantage.

The sophomore Kelley threw for 444 yards and six touchdowns as Basha got back in the win column with an offensive explosion in a 48-31 victory at Highland.

Kelley completed 20-of-28 passes and threw for 203 yards in the second quarter alone as the Bears (5-3) racked up 550 yards and held off Highland’s second-half comeback attempt.

“We saw the coverages they were in and it allowed us to some things,” Basha coach Gerald Todd said.

Kelley understatedly elaborated: “It seemed there were holes that were just really open.”

Nearly all of Kelley’s receivers benefited. Jared Schmidt racked up 230 yards and two touchdowns on eight receptions. Hunter Rison had 105 yards and three touchdowns. Doc O’Connor also eclipsed the century mark with 102 yards and a pair of touchdowns. O’Connor also threw a 32-yard touchdown (to Rison) late in the first half that helped the Bears to a 34-10 lead at halftime.

But Josh Chadwick and the change to Keegan Michelson at quarterback in the second half sparked the Hawks (5-3). Chadwick carried the ball 34 times for 273 yards, including 111 in the second quarter, and Michelson threw two touchdowns to Tyler Johnson — who had three touchdowns in all — as Highland pulled within 10 points, 41-31, to start the fourth.

But Chadwick fumbled struggling for extra yardage and Basha’s Austin Williams picked off Michelson twice in the final period to seal what could end up as a pivotal road win for postseason seeding.

“We stepped up and took care of business,” Todd said. “Our defense bent but didn’t break. They made the two huge plays there were very, very special. Those two interceptions were huge.”

Highland racked up 464 yards of offense but turned it over four times and it could have been more. The Hawks fumbled five times but were able to pounce on three to maintain possession.

“You can’t turn the ball over against good football teams,” Highland coach Pete Wahlheim said. “I thought we had them scrambling there a bit in the second half, and we knew we could run the ball, but couldn’t finish.

“We had a tough time getting off the field on defense. They’re passing game is awfully tough. We were dropping eight (into coverage) and still had problems. Credit (Kelley), he’s a good one.”

Kelly’s six touchdowns were on throws of 24, 81, 5, 31, 28 and 2 yards.

“Our offense was just working the entire game,” Kelly said.


Basha 7 27 7 7 — 41

Highland 7 3 21 0 — 31

First Quarter

H — T. Johnson 22 pass from Wallin (Schmidt kick)

B — Rison 24 pass from Kelley (Thompson kick)

Second Quarter

B — Schmidt 81 pass from Kelley (Thompson kick)

B — O’Connor 5 pass from Kelley (Thompson kick)

B — Rison 31 pass from Kelly (Thompson kick)

B — Rison 32 pass from O’Connor (run failed)

H — Schmidt 32 FG

Third Quarter

H — Chadwick 7 run (Schmidt kick)

B — Schmidt 28 pass from Kelley (Thompson kick)

H — T. Johnson 79 pass from Michelson (Schmidt kick)

H — T. Johnson 10 pass from Michelson (Schmidt kick)

Fourth Quarter

B — O’Connor 2 pass from Kelley (Thompson kick)


B, H

First downs 22, 24

Rushing 22-74, 47-297

Passing 21-29-476-1, 8-14, 167-2

Fumbles-Lost 1-1, 5-2

Penalties-Yards 6-50, 4-36


RUSHING — Basha: Kelley 8-39, Reed 8-20, Griffin 2-14, Bloomquist 2-5, O’Connor 1-4, Dean-Gibson 1-(-8). Highland: Chadwick 34-273, J. Egbo 2-19, Dv. Egbo 1-19, Russell 4-8, Wallin 6-(-22).

PASSING — Basha: Kelley 20-28-444-1, O’Connor 1-1-32-0. Highland: Michelson 5-9-115-2, Wallin 3-5-52-0.

RECEIVING — Basha: Schmidt 8-230, Rison 4-105, O’Connor 7-102, Dean-Gibson 1-33, Griffin 1-6. Highland: T. Johnson 4-121, McBeth 1-28, Rasmussen 1-9, S. Smith 1-7, Chadwick 1-2.

Catalyst Sale

Basha wipes out an early Highland lead with a first-half onslaught and coasts to an important win for its playoff hopes.

With three weeks left until the end of the season and playoffs looming, teams need to begin to think about how a win here or there might help them in the rankings.

For Chandler Basha – No. 16 of the top 16 in the Power Rankings – may have greatly increased its playoff chances holding off a tough Gilbert Highland team, 48-31 in a Division I, Section I game.

“We knew this was going to be a big one,” said Basha wide receiver Jared Schmidt, who finished with 188 yards receiving and two touchdowns. “It’s really good for us to get into the playoffs with this win. With all the hard work we put in practice and just the hard work we put into it, it’s coming true right now.”

RELATED: High School Football Scoreboard

Schmidt was a favorite target for Basha quarterback Ryan Kelley throughout the night.

Trailing 7-0, Kelley connected with Hunter Rison to tie the game with 3:01 left in the first quarter on a 29-yard play that completed a quick four play, 77-yard drive.

“Our offense was just working the entire game,” said Kelley, who finished with 418 passing yards and four passing touchdowns. “It all starts with the (offensive) lineman down front, and they were keeping me protected. Then it comes to the receivers getting open and then it comes to me throwing the football.”

Kelley first connected with Schmidt to break the 7-all tie on an 81-yard pass that opened the flood gates for Basha (5-3, 2-1 section) as it scored 34 unanswered points to take a commanding 34-7 lead before halftime.

“We had to take advantage of what we were doing and go from there,” Basha coach Gerald Todd said. “One thing we had to do was to step it up and take care of some business. Our defense came back at the end and made two great plays that were crucial. Our defense stepped it up and did a great job.”

The Basha defense forced recovered two fumbles and had two interceptions.

After Highland (5-3, 1-2) got the ball back with 7:10 left in the game and trailing 48-31, it began a drive that looked like it might score, but Austin Williams got his first of two interceptions when he jumped up and picked off Keegan Michelson’s pass at the 5-yard line.

“The first (Highland) touchdown was on me, so I put it in my head that I was going to come out here and make a play,” said Williams, who also picked off Michelson again, ending a promising drive for Highland. “They were running slants all game, so I was going to cheat inside, and it was right there in my hands. We had to step it up and play our butts off, and that’s what we did.”

Highland’s Josh Chadwick finished with 260 yards on the ground and had one touchdown.

The Basha Bears have had quite a bit of success over past years. After watching them beat Perry 28-11, here are my takeaways of what has gone into their 4-2 start:

Kelley Is The Real Deal

There is a lot of buzz around the sophomore QB taking over for Zach Werlinger, and he showed it’s not just hype. Were there mistakes? Sure, but Kelley threw for three touchdowns, and could have very easily had a fourth if his receiver hadn’t tripped on a deep completion. He showed a lot of poise against a stout Perry defense that likes to bring pressure.

“We love Ryan.  Just because he is a sophomore doesn’t mean he can’t play, and he obviously can play,” senior defensive back Brandon Yamamoto said.

Weapons, Weapons, Weapons

Kelley is not short on weapons at his disposal in this offense. He has a reliable runner in Zach Reed.  There is also the dynamic speedster, Doc O’Connor. O’Connor turned a ten yard completion into the opening score of the game, and Perry didn’t give him much space to work with. Kelley also has two big receivers in Jared Schmidt and Hunter Dean-Gibson, who both caught touchdown passes. There is plenty of talent to put up big numbers for the Bears.

Shutdown Defense

What impressed me most was Basha’s defense. Yes, the offense has received plenty of attention, and deservedly so, but the Bears have a defense that can get into the backfield. Bailey Huggins, and J.D. Alexander hit Perry quarterback Austin Nightingale constantly and wouldn’t let the dual-threat quarterback get to the outside where he could run. Linebacker Zac Archer stuffed a 4th down run inside Basha’s five yard line to swing the momentum back in the Bear’s favor, cornerback Joe Storm had a crucial interception, and Brandon Yamamoto blocked a punt and recovered a fumble to seal the victory for the Bears. The unit as a whole played very well and came up big each time the team needed them to.

Tough road ahead

The Bears are now 4-2, but have a very tough portion of their schedule coming up. They host Hamilton, go to Highland, and host Chandler over the next three weeks. Building momentum off of this win will be crucial for the success of the coming weeks.

“There’s some things we need to fix obviously, but we’re going to get that fixed and we will come ready for Hamilton,” Yamamoto said.

Once Chandler Basha stopped turning the ball over Friday night, its offense was able to get its tempo going and its defense was able to roll over Laveen Cesar Chavez.

Using a fast-paced offensive game plan, Basha rallied from two first-half deficits behind sophomore quarterback Ryan Kelley’s passing and running in a 55-12 win.

On defense, Basha stuffed the Cesar Chavez running game from the mid-second quarter until the fourth and scored a pair of defensive touchdowns.

Kelley threw two interceptions in the first half, but ended the night with 16 completions on 27 attempts, 217 yards and two touchdowns. He was also effective running draw plays, rushing for two touchdowns and 47 yards.

Chavez grabbed an early 6-0 lead, then picked off Kelley on Basha’s next possession. But when Basha got the ball back, it drove for its first touchdown, Kelley’s run around the right side on fourth-and-goal.

Nathan Guzman gave Cesar Chavez a 12-7 lead with a short TD run with 10:37 left in the second quarter, and Cesar Chavez recovered a fumble. Minutes later, Cesar Chavez was inside the Basha 10-yard line and went for it on fourth down, but failed to get a first down. Basha took over and drove 93 yards for the go-ahead score, a 24-yard pass from Kelley to Doc O’Connor.

Basha (3-0) led 21-12 at halftime, then Austin Williams returned an interception 38 yards for a touchdown and defensive end Maison Ardans recovered a fumble and returned it for another score.

Basha totaled 34 third-quarter points and forced a running game clock for the final quarter of the game. It has yet to face its sectional opponents, which include D-I powers Chandler and Chandler Hamilton. Cesar Chavez dropped to 0-3 on the season.

Basha kept Cesar Chavez coach Jim Rattay from his 300th career win for the time being.

“We made some big plays at the right time and turned things around,” Basha coach Gerald Todd said. “Three-and-0 is a great place to be, we need to be 3-0 on the road going back home.”

Basha’s next two games are away.

Posted: Saturday, September 6, 2014 12:30 am

What looked to be a heavyweight showdown between two of the top teams in the state instead turned into a coming out party for quarterback Ryan Kelley and the Basha Bears (2-0), as the sixth-ranked team in Division I defeated Centennial (0-2), the top ranked team in Division II, 31-21.

Kelley, only a sophomore, was excellent facing a tough Coyotes defense that tried to get to him and rattle him but were unable to do so. Kelley completed 24 of 39 passes for 407 yards and four touchdowns.

“One of the best quarterbacks I’ve seen in a long time,” Centennial coach Richard Taylor said. “For a sophomore, he was outstanding.”

Kelley also earned high praise from his own coach Gerald Todd, who said, “He’s a young man that has special talent. I think he has kind of shown that the first two games and I think that people now have to look at him and say not only is he a sophomore, but he’s an athlete.”

Kelley had a lot of help tonight from his receivers, who were also outstanding. Three Basha receivers had over 100 yards on the night, led by Jared Schmidt, who caught eight passes for 194 yards and a touchdown. Doc O’Connor had 100 yards and a touchdown on 10 catches, while Hunter Dean-Gibson also racked up 100 yards and two touchdowns on three catches.

“To be honest, I think they are the best receivers in the state,” Kelley said.

The Bears’ defense was also very solid on the night, shutting down Coyotes running back Dedrick Young and the rest of the potent Centennial running game. Young, who had 160 yards on the ground last week in the Coyotes’ narrow defeat to top-ranked Chandler, was limited to just 26 yards on six carries in this contest.

In fact it was Basha defense that Todd said was the key to the victory.

“We did some things well on offense and started to click a little better,” he said, “but our defense really stepped up the last couple games and I think that really has been the difference.”

The Coyotes now have to go back the drawing board and regroup. Centennial was the preseason favorite to win the Division II championship, but have stumbled to an 0-2 start, albeit against two tough Division I teams.

“I think we have to practice better,” Taylor said. “You normally play like you practice. I’d like to give Basha a lot of credit. I thought they played well. They played good. They played tough. But this is about us now. What we want, what we expect, and what we are willing to do for it.”

Basha 31, Centennial 21

First Downs- Basha- 21 Centennial-20

Rushing- Basha- 30-41 Centennial- 34-192

Passing (comp.-att.-TD-INT)- Basha- 24-39-407-4-1 Centennial- 18-32-161-1-2

Fumbles-Lost Basha- 2-1 Centennial- 2-2

Penalties-Yards Basha- 10-80 Centennial- 9-90

Basha 14 7 7 3 – 31

Centennial 0 7 7 7 – 21

Basha: Dean-Gibson 44 pass from Kelley (Thompson kick)

Basha: Schmidt 95 pass from Kelley (Thompson kick)

Basha: Dean-Gibson 24 pass from Kelley (Thompson kick)

Centennial: Gomez 9 run (Navarro kick)

Basha: O’Connor 29 pass from Kelley (Thompson kick)

Centennial: Ramirez 37 pass from Steele (Navarro kick)

Basha: Thompson 33 FG

Centennial: Steele 23 run (Navarro kick)

It took Gerald Todd 25 years to move two feet.

Icebergs have shown better paces, but none of that matter on a hot Friday night in Arizona.

Todd stepped on the football field for the first time as a head coach after two and half decades as an assistant at schools in Texas (Odessa, Houston) and New Mexico (Carlsbad) before donning Basha’s green, black and gold since 2006.

The Sweetwater, Texas native led Basha to a 31-23 win over Desert Vista in his first game as a head coach and it didn’t come without making some tough decisions.

“Those are the  kinds of things as an assistant you watch someone else do, but you move 24 inches to the left and it is you making those decisions,” he said. “It’s a while different world.”

The whole Basha program knows the feeling  as Todd, who helped himself by bringing back an old ball coach like Jim Flannery as an assistant, has reinvigorated the program since taking over for Bernie Busken in March. The old-school, grating Busken created tension – some good and some bad – anytime he walked into a room, huddle or on a team bus.

If Busken’s approach is similar to sandpaper, gets the job done while breaking down everything it touches, then Todd is cling wrap as he has everything covered and there is nothing to hide.

“It’s a new era,” Basha athletic director Brent Rincon said. “It’s been great. He has infused a ton of energy and excitement around the program. His enthusiasm is infectious.”

The new atmosphere has reached every level of the program from the booster club to the administration and most importantly the locker room.

“Coach Todd is doing a lot of great things,” junior wide receiver Hunter Dean-Gipson said. “He’s changed the mood in the locker room. We were kind of down on each other after last year and he has put the fun back into the game. He’s doing a great job and we love him.”

His first win didn’t come without tough decisions and difficult moments.

The team had way too many penalties – 9- for 98 – that wiped out some big plays and the decision to squib kick with 15 seconds left gave Desert Vista the ball at its own 45 and a chance to tie it.

The two pass attempts – one was a drop around the 15 yard-line and the other a batted ball by Basha defenders – didn’t come back to hurt Basha, but it’s a game management issue that will get better with time.

“It’s always good to get the first one out of the way,” Todd said. “It’s my first one as a head coach. It makes it special because it is a special group of kids.”

Catalyst Sale

Ryan Kelley, making his first varsity start at a school known for quarterbacks, threw for two touchdowns and rushed for two others to lead and rally Chandler Basha to a 31-23 victory over host Phoenix Desert Vista on Friday night in the first game of the season for both Division I schools.

“It makes me feel trusted by my coaching staff,” Kelley said, after being asked to describe making his first varsity start as a sophomore. “It really feels great. I was a little bit nervous before the game but I trusted my teammates. I trusted my line and I trusted my receivers.”

It was also a milestone night for Basha Head Coach Gerald Todd, who earned his first win after nearly a decade as an offensive assistant coach at the school.

“This is my first win as a head coach and it makes this win kind of special,” Todd said. “This is a special group of young men that played today. Desert Vista is a great program and to get a win against them is very, very special. … It showed a lot about our kids to overcome adversity (after falling behind in the second half).”

Kelley’s two rushing touchdowns came in the first half, both around left end. The first was a 16-yard run on a fourth and 1, and the second was a 14-yard rush about midway through the second quarter.

Leading 14-0, Basha allowed Desert Vista (0-1) to quickly get back in the game.

The hosts started their rally when kicker Riggs Tamburo made a 44-yard field goal with 3:55 left in the first half.

RELATED: High school football scoreboard

On the first play of the ensuing possession, Desert Vista defender Cade Van Raaphorst, who was all over the field all night, picked off a pass by Kelley and raced 25 yards for a touchdown.

Trailing 14-10 at intermission, Desert Vista’s T.J. Roberts returned the second-half kickoff 85 yards to Basha’s 15-yard line. Four plays later, Roberts capped a short drive with an 8-yard touchdown run, and Desert Vista led 16-14 with 9:34 left in the third quarter.

Basha, which ran a no-huddle, pass-oriented offense for most of the game, responded on its next possession and re-took the lead for good when Kelley threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to J.D. Alexander who dived into the goal-line pylon as defenders closed in.

Down 28-16, Desert Vista made a late bid for a comeback. Quarterback Alex Farina completed a 34-yard pass that help set up a 1–yard touchdown plunge by Roberts with 5:40 left.

After a short break for both teams – during which school officials scrambled to turn off the field sprinklers – Basha closed out the win with a lengthy 12-play drive and a 43-yard field goal with 17.7 seconds to play.

After recovering a squib quick, Desert Vista got off two plays from midfield but both were incomplete passes.

Catalyst Sale

Click here >>> Dog days of Summer 2014 to be redirected to YouTube and watch the video.

Catalyst Sale

Parents, Family and Friends –


This is your opportunity to purchase and secure Basha Gridiron Club Parking for the upcoming 2014 Varsity Football Season. Basha Varsity Football has 4 home games this season; Centennial, Perry, Hamilton and Chandler. We anticipate larger than normal crowds for all 4 games. You can purchase a Home Game Season Parking Pass for only $40.

You may purchase as many (Parents, Grandparents, Aunts & Uncles, Friends) Season Passes as you would like, each costing $40.


Please see attached Basha Gridiron Club Parking Map which indicates parking location in yellow.


This will be offered on a ‘First Come, First Served’ bases, as we only have 48 total spots to offer.


If you would like to purchase a Parking Pass, please email;  Please include your name and the number of Parking Passes you would like to purchase.


Please make checks payable to: Basha Gridiron Club.

Pat will provide you the mailing address when you contact him.


Catalyst Sale

Basha’s JV will be participating in two in two 7on7 passing league games


1. On June 17th @ Apache Junction High School.  All skill players need to arrive at the school at 4:00 pm.

2. On June 24th @ Williams Field High School. All skill players need to arrive at the school at 4:30 pm.


All players need to bring their black spring gear, cleats and lots of water. It’s going to be HOT!


Click on the link below to view the June calender.  There one can see the events and directions to the schools.

June JV Events

Catalyst Sale