One on one with Coach Busken

What was up with those Jerseys?

Honoring the armed forces and troops that are serving this country, we are wearing them to let those people serving know how special they are to all of us at Basha.

How do you like Coaching at Basha?

I love it absolutely love it. The kids want to work hard and are excited to work  and learn every day.

Is there any difference between coaching at Mtn View and Basha?

Very similiar with the types of young men that they have that want to work hard. Mountain View has been around longer and steeped with Traditions and Basha has more of a clean slate. The kids have talent and work hard, train hard and show up.

How did it feel to finally end the win less streak against Mountain View and to secure sole possession of the Regional Championship?

It was one of the goals we had set out at the beginning of the year by the seniors. It was a long process that had to be executed one week at a time and they absolutely did a fantastic job.

Are you excited to be in the hunt for another state championship?

Yes I am, I think it says allot about our young me with the time they put in and I am very proud of them and their accomplishments. We are in the second season thats sudden death and if you lose a game its the end, but I am excited with the talent we have.

Your take on the upcoming Gilbert game?

Gilbert has improved allot since we played them we got to see allot of their games because we played some of the same teams. They have made some changes offensively, defensively and they are very talented. Big challenge if you remember first half of our game this year where they got ahead and we did not get into the game until the second half. We have allot on the line and cannot afford to think about anything else but this week’s game.

Closing Thoughts

I am Very proud of these young men and what they have done this year and how far they have come. We will keep doing it now except that its sudden death now if you lose your season is over like I said earlier “One week at a time, we have our hands full”

interview done by G. Husar

The Basha Bears played before a packed house and beat the Mesquite Wildcats 21-20 to set up next week’s game for the Central Region Title. Mesquite scored first with the Bears answering on a 72 yard pass from Kyle Duran to Nate Phillips. The second Basha score was a 4th and inches when Kyle Duran punched it in on a wedge play. The bears final score came on a 5 yard Duran to Phillips pass in the 4th quarter. Mesquite drove down the field and scored with one minute left and faked the kick which was no good and the BEARS WIN!!
What a great effort by our players and coaches. We asked two things of our team. First, that they give all they have and leave it all on the field. Second, have fun. What a great way to celebrate homecoming and to honor our seniors for this week. Our defense played their hearts out against one of the premier backs in Arizona. Our linebackers were outstanding and they include Zach Williams, Joey Hutchison, Blake Tamarkin, and Brock Davis. The secondary play was solid and led by Bryce Cole and David Morales.
Our kicking game needs to work a few kinks out but hit all three extra points by Justin Barber. It was great to have our holder Jacob Johnson back after having his tonsils removed and missing a week. WE ARE VERY PROUD OF OUR BASHA BEARS. See you Friday.

I promised I would always be truthful without being overly critical, so here goes.

The Basha 9th grade team played their poorest game of the season last Wednesday against Desert Ridge. There was little blocking, poor tackling, and a general lack of focus and effort on the part of the players. I think everyone was upset leaving the game especially the parents and coaching staff. It is time the players step up and take responsibility for their actions and performance. Nothing is perfect in the world as parents or with coaching so we need to help our young men focus more effectively. This is a very physical game that requires great effort and concentration. To the few who played well, congratulations and please continue to work hard and try to help your team mates pay more attention. Hard work is contagious unfortunately so is lack of hard work. We look forward to getting back in school and attending class with the structure it offers during the school day. I think our young men can be an excellent group but it is time to step up a bunch. We have two games left against quality opponents and I look for two excellent games to be played by our freshmen bears.

Our JV team continued to play hard and destroyed an undermanned Dobson JV team. Everyone played in the first half and had fun getting involved on the field after many weeks of practice. I am impressed with their determination and desire and with their attitude of doing their very best. Many outstanding performances were given especially by the offensive line and defensive linemen. Kenny Lewis looked cat quick, Justin Solomon made several excellent plays, J.J. Husar had some excellent plays, Zach Denny, Ronnie Querry, Bryce Brroks, Cody Duran, Zach Torriente, and Brandon Marxman all continue to impress. With two games left we plan to make a few personnel changes due to injury and look to finish up strong.

Zach Denny and Dalton Krum are healing up nicely after hitting each other attempting to tackle a Dobson player. We are happy that it appears they will be fine after a week or two off. I know many of us had these outstanding young men in our players over the week end. Thank you for you thoughts and well wishes. The head coach from Dobson and I got together and thought the safety of our young men was more important than finishing the last five minutes of the game. I hope you understand.

The varsity bears played at Dobson on Friday winning 35-14. We mishandled two punts in the first quarter and this is a concentration issue we will be working on. Our defense started strong for the most part and then set the tone by blocking for Devin Reed’s two punt return touchdowns. One TD was a 91 yard return with the 2nd being a 44 yard touchdown return. The offense had two real nice drives going the length of the field for their first TD on a short pass to Dezjon Walker, the 2nd drive culminated with a one yard run with Myles Smith, and the 3rd TD recorded on a one play, 61 yard TD pass to Nate Phillips. We sat out two players with slight injuries that are big difference makers for the Bears, Matt Horton and Joe Granado who will return this week full speed ahead.

The reserves played all the 4th quarter and were driving for another score as the clock expired. They were led by 9th QB Zach Werlinger who handled our offense very effectively. Outstanding players for this game included running backs Dean Vo and Myles Smith, LBers Zach Williams, Brock Davis, and Joey Hutchison along with very good coverage by all the players in the secondary. GREAT JOB MEN.

It gets really tough down the stretch with the remaining games determining if we are in the post season tournament. Your continued support and great attitudes really help our players to do well. Thank you for being there for them.

Coach B.

Biggest (or littlest) fans!

On October 7, 2010 the Basha Bear Football Team met some of their biggest (or littlest) fans!  Defensive Coach, Manny Palomarez and Booster Club President, Brian Vorphol brought 19 boys from the Bears defensive team to Ms. Vatistas’s kindergarten classroom at Kyrene de los Lagos Elementary School in Ahwatukee.

In order to prepare for the Bears upcoming visit, the students in Ms. Vatistas’s kindergarten went through a week of vigorous football themed activities that centered on their curriculum.  The culminating activity was to write one question to their very own Basha Bear player.

When the football team arrived in the classroom, they were each assigned their own kindergartner with whom they spent the entire hour with.  Each player helped their student read the question that they had prepared specifically for them.  Once all the questions had been answered, the “big” Bears presented their “little” Bears with a Basha Football t-shirt.

The players (who were on fall break) and their kindergarteners ended their time together by relaxing and enjoying a delicious football themed cupcake.  This was definitely an experience that neither “little” Bear nor “big” Bear will ever forget!



Ask Busken

Here is where you can ask Coach Bernie Busken questions about the team, games, ides and almost anything about football. Remember that Coach Busken is Busy with the team and it may take time for him to respond to your questions.


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Basha Bears Football

Anticipation was the buzzword for the Chandler Basha football team all week.

While sister school Chandler Hamilton had already logged two games, Basha was champing at the bit for a shot at someone other than each other.

So was its coach. It had been eight years since Bernie Busken prowled an Arizona sideline – the result of a well-chronicled resignation at Mesa Mountain View. Eight years of nomadic wandering from school-to-school, state-to-state, wondering if he’d ever get another shot.

Busken finally got it Friday at Casa Grande in a 5A non-region game.

And after a sluggish first quarter, Basha gave him something to smile about.

Running back Quinten Del Re had 12 carries for 109 yards and a touchdown and the Basha defense limited Casa Grande to 104 yards of offense in a 36-0 victory.

“There are some things that we can do that we’re really excited about and about 10 days ago we were doing them really well,” Busken said. “We got a little stale there, but now we’re into where we’re playing every week and that will help.”

Busken has been in the spotlight ever since he accepted the job, so he admitted it was nice to get the focus back on football.

“Sure it is,” he said with his family nearby, just as they were all those years at Mountain View. “Our kids work really hard and they deserve the attention.”

Basha used three quarterbacks Friday, with junior Kyle Duran playing the first half and completing 6 of 7 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown while also running for a score.

Senior quarterback Matt Horton showed great shiftiness with 10 carries for 107 yards and a touchdown in the third quarter.

But the foundation of Basha’s success is still its defense – as it has been since the school opened, and the front seven was up to the task, pushing Casa Grande’s line back all night.

Busken kept things pretty vanilla on Friday, but he promised his team would roll out more wrinkles in the coming weeks.

Read more:

More than 160 young men from Basha and Mayer High schools discovered going to camp is not all fun and games when they attended football camp in Mayer this past week.

A group of seniors from the Chandler school were of one accord that new Bears’ head coach Bernie Bushkin was “busting our butts” on the field and in the weight room.

Dhane Cumberledge observed the first-time camp in Mayer was a decided departure from the one he previously attended in Show Low.

“It always seemed challenging before, but once we got to this point – wow!” said the Basha defensive end on Thursday, the camp’s final full day. “And it was mentally tough. When we were tired and hurting, we had to push through.”

Fellow defensive end Joseph Granado called the camp “very, very tough.”

“Some people were slacking when we started, but we came together and became a family,” Granado said.

“This camp was well worth its money. Coach got us ready to play. No game will be as tough as what we just went through,” agreed wide receiver Nick Vorpahl.

Wide receiver Ethan Klaseen said he thought the coaching change accounted for the training method difference.

“This is a rigorous camp. Once our heads hit the pillows at night, we’re out. But we’re more ready for the season. I look forward to the first game against Casa Grande (Sept. 3),” Klaseen said.

That game comes early in September, because Basha is a year-round 5A school.

Coach Buskin explained his methods.

“The whole thing is, we wanted them to be tired. You feel good about yourself when you work hard,” Buskin said. “Football is a tough game, and hard bodies don’t get injured as easily.”

Buskin and his 13 coaches rousted their 157 players at 5 a.m. for a 1-mile run around the track and offensive cadence drills before breakfast. The rest of the morning was devoted to offense. After lunch – and a quick nap in the darkened gym – defense was the theme, with more conditioning and drills. Heavy conditioning and team play took place in the evenings when the temperature dropped a bit.

Rick Lashley, 7-year Mayer football coach who’s been head coach for the past four years, said the camp was helpful to him and his players.

“I’m learning a lot of stuff,” Lashley said. “Coach Buskin is a stickler for doing all things right. The bottom line in football is you have to block and you have to tackle. He just reinforced techniques I’ve been trying to teach for seven years.

“It’s been a good experience for all the kids that have been here.”

He said the half dozen or so Wildcats who came out each day learned what it was like to have competition for a starting position on a team. Small schools typically have to scramble just to get enough players for the 8-man league.

“It brought our level of play up,” Lashley said. “And the kids now are interested in watching Basha on Friday Night Lights (local TV high school sports highlights show) this fall.”

He noted the Basha presence was intimidating for the Mayer squad.

“They have more kids on their football team than we have in our whole school,” Lashley said.

Mayer senior Dimitri Campbell described the initial meeting as “nerve wracking.”

“When I first got here and didn’t see anyone (I knew), I called the coach and said I’d wait for him to come,” Campbell said, smiling.

Although not exhausted, Campbell admitted to having some sore muscles.

Incoming freshman Wildcat Bryce Atkerson aptly described the difference between Mayer junior high football and Basha’s camp as “going from walking to a full sprint.”

They got to go home each evening, while the Basha contingent showered in the locker room and bedded down on blow-up mattresses or cots in the gym. Some of the Basha team’s parents came up to offer their support, staying in RVs in Cordes Junction and riding their quads to Mayer.

“It’s a great camp. The weather’s been a little warm, but the kids are enjoying it,” said David Marxman, father of Brandon, a JV player.

Coaches got their own classroom to sleep in and give themselves and the team a break. But campers ate all their meals together in the cafeteria.

“The food’s great, and the Mayer people have been great to us,” Buskin said.

Susie Allen, Mayer Unified School District‘s Food Service director, coordinated the meals, said Lisa Hawkins, an elementary school aide to autistic children. Allen, Hawkins and Donna Porter, who works in the elementary cafeteria, concocted homemade meals, such as chicken enchiladas, cheeseburgers and breakfast burritos, with the assistance of a cadre of volunteers.

“It was our first football camp, and we fed 200 people each day,” Porter said. “We did it by trial and error, but I think we did OK. Nobody turned anything down.”

“The kitchen staff did a great job,” said Lashley, as he prepared to wind up camp by helping them grill 200 steaks for Thursday evening’s dinner.

Mayer hosts The Orme School Aug. 27 to open the season.


Busken happy to be home

By Steve Burks, Tribune

His voice is calm and quiet, that of a man comfortable with where he is at in his life.

Bernie Busken is comfortable, finally. He’s back home, coaching high school football in the East Valley, and his latest stop, at Basha High School, is one that he wouldn’t mind being his last.

“I don’t want to move any more,” said Busken, who has spent the last nine years coaching in the college ranks at four different schools. “College coaching is about the next job, moving up, getting more money. I wanted to live in my house. I was tired of moving and I wanted to see my family and friends and former players.

“I never dreamed that this job would open and lucky for me it worked out.”

Busken spent just seven of his 34-year coaching career in Arizona, but those extremely successful years at Mountain View allowed Busken to plant roots in the Valley.

The strength of those roots was tested in the spring of 2002 when Busken resigned after allegations surfaced charging Busken with verbal abuse of players, allowing hazing rituals and allowing what was called “excessive athlete-on-athlete contact” after being warned by the district to stop.

Busken was 82-9 from 1995-2001 at Mountain View, leading the Toros to three state championships and a 40-game winning streak. But he departed in 2002 with the reputation of being a bully, a coach that went over the line to motivate his players.

The 2010 version of Bernie Busken is a calmer, humbler man.

“I’m more relaxed,” Busken said. “I don’t feel it was ever about me. I do like to do well, but there are some lessons being learned that only this sport can teach and I want our young guys to learn those lessons and be productive citizens.

“Sometimes your focus gets clouded, but as I get older, the comaradie and loyalties that you have, those are really important to me.”

Since leaving Mountain View, Busken has coached at Southern Utah, West Texas State, Millsaps College and Western New Mexico. Busken was the head coach at Western New Mexico for the past three seasons (2007-09), compiling an 8-22 record.

But Busken’s mind was never far off from returning to the high school coaching ranks in Arizona.

“You do your job that you’re in and I just try to do the best I can wherever I’m at,” Busken said. “But sooner or later, I was going to come back.”

After eight seasons in college, Busken said coming back to coaching in high school is not that much different. The key, Busken said, “is communicating what you expect.”

“And here, we asked the players what they wanted, what kind of program they wanted,” Busken added. “They just want to do good, be disciplined and they want a chance to do well.”

Busken was hired by Basha in March and he’s been around the team for spring ball and summer workouts, but Monday will be the first official day of practice for the Bears and Busken is ready to get this latest chapter in his coaching career started.

“I’m looking forward to it and looking forward to getting the pads on,” Busken said. “Everybody is itching to get going.”