Zach Werlinger, Basha (pictured): 453 yards, 3 TD
Emanuel Gant, Tempe: 451 yards, 5 TD
John Clark, Mountain View: 329 yards, 4 TD
Brian Lewerke, Pinnacle: 321 yards, 6 TD
Dalton Sneed, Horizon: 299 yards, 3 TD
Tyler Bloom, Higley: 261 yards, 2 TD
Antonio Hinojosa, Mountain Pointe: 180 yards, 3 TD
Taren Morrison, Desert Ridge: 283 yards, 3 TD
Luke Quinn, Horizon: 187 yards, 3 TD
Ryan Velez, Brophy: 185 yards, 2 TD
Josh Hoekstra, Pinnacle: 179 yards, 2 TD
Tyler Whiley, Chaparral: 173 yards, TD (3 rec. TD)
Rajhan Meriwether, Basha: 152 yards, 3 TD
Antonio Campanella, Seton Catholic: 138 yards, 4 TD
Isaiah Brittain, Tempe Prep: 121 yards, 2 TD
Wesley Payne, Mountain Pointe: 113 yards, 2 TD
Justin Irby, Desert Ridge: 101 yards, 2 TD
Mason Johnson, Higley: 91 yards, 2 TD
Jalen Brown, Mountain Pointe: 130 yards, 3 TD
N’Keal Harry, Marcos de Niza: 127 yards
Rajhan Meriwether, Basha: 122 yards, TD
Ryan Robertson, Basha: 113 yards, TD
Joe Storm, Basha: 113 yards
Daniel Galindo, Pinnacle: 110 yards
Elijah Williams, Hamilton: 108 yards, TD
Nick Colson, Higley: 107 yards
Doc O’Connor, Basha: 105 yards, TD
Cade Thompson, Basha: GW 29-yard FG
Josh Eckley, Marcos de Niza: 338 yards passing, 2 TD; 103 yards rushing, 2 TD
Luke Rubenzer, Saguaro: 256 yards passing, 6 TD; 151 yards rushing, TD
Christian Kirk, Saguaro: 232 yards rushing, 2 TD; 68 yards receiving, 2 TD
Bryce Perkins, Chandler: 249 yards passing, 3 TD; 50 yards rushing, 2 TD
Clark Brown, Mountain View: 195 total yards, TD
Hamilton defense: 3 safeties, 16 total yards allowed
Qualen Cunningham, Hamilton: 4 sacks; single-season school record 17 sacks
Tempe Prep defense: Shutout, 16 yards allowed in first half vs. Northwest Christian
Morris Kroma, Hamilton: 65-yard punt return for TD
Erick Belcher, Campo Verde: 42-yard INT return for TD; 20-yard TD rec.
Ryan Velez, Brophy (pictured): 94-yard KO return for TD
Isaiah Oliver, Brophy: 42-yard TD rec.; GW pass defended
Red Mountain defense: 253 yards allowed, 7 points allowed, 3 forced TO
By Richard Obertazcentral sportsFri Nov 8, 2013 10:26 PM
A sack near the end of the first half moved Chandler Basha just far enough for Cade Thompson to see his 42-yard field-goal try bounce off the crossbar as time expired.
This time, quarterback Zach Werlinger moved his team in the final 2:24 from his 24 to the Phoenix Horizon 8, giving Thompson a chip-shot, 26-yard field goal to win it.
No. 10 Basha’s 43-42 victory over host and No. 7 Horizon moves it into next week’s Division I quarterfinals.
“It wasn’t really outside my range,” Thompson said about the 42-yarder. “I hit it wrong. I felt bad about it. But my coaches trusted me. My teammates trusted me. It was awesome.”
With Horizon junior quarterback Dalton Sneed throwing three first-half touchdown passes, helping hist team to 35-34 halftime lead, Horizon’s fast-paced, dynamic offense sputtered in the second half.
Horizon (8-3) scored its only touchdown on a Luke Quinn 32-yard touchdown run with 4:53 left. He bounced off a defender and sprinted into the end zone to give his team a 42-40 lead. It came after Werlinger was intercepted deep in Horizon territory.
Horizon elected not to go for two to try to take a three-point lead at that point and took the extra point.
Werlinger rallied Basha (6-5) all night, from the moment his first pass got intercepted to the final drive that was aided by a pass-interference penalty.
After overthrowing his target on fourth down, Basha’s defense gave Werlinger one more chance to do something.
Werlinger completed a 14-yard pass to Ryan Robertson. Horizon was called for pass interference on third and 10, putting the ball on the Horizon 39.
Werlinger ran 10 yards following a 10-yard completion to Justin Wheaton.
Two strong runs by Rajhan Meriweather (who had four first-half touchdowns) moved the ball to the 8. Werlinger took a 1-yard loss to center the ball for Thompson’s winning kid.
With 14 seconds left, from its 36, Horizon ran out of big plays.
“There were three of them (interceptions) that could have really cost my team,” Werlinger said. “They played really hard with me and we were able to do it when it really mattered the most. It was a lot of fun.”
Werlinger passed for 125 yards and a touchdown in the final quarter. Werlinger threw TD passes of 72 yards to Meriweather and 59 yards to Doc O’Connor in the first half.”
“We weren’t going to get down,” Basha coach Bernie Busken said. “We knew we had a job to do. Horizon’s offense does a really good job. Our job was to score points.”
Posted: Friday, November 8, 2013 12:05 am | Updated: 11:18 am, Sun Nov 10, 2013.
By Chris Gabel, Tribune
As Basha amassed nearly unfathomable yardage totals Friday night, the one thing looming over the Bears, threatening to cast for naught nearly 700 yards of offense, was a missed extra point midway through the second quarter.
Cade Thompson sailed that extra point wide in the midst of a back-and-forth track meet at Horizon, and then came up a yard short on a 42-yard field goal attempt just before halftime.
Those two shortcomings made the junior’s 29-yard field goal with 19 seconds remaining that much sweeter. The kick gave the 10th-seeded Bears a 43-42 victory over No. 7 Horizon in the first round of the Division I playoffs and sent Basha to a quarterfinals meeting with city-rival and second-seeded Chandler next Friday.
“We were down two points because of the kicking game,” said the 5-foot-8, 140-pound Thompson, who doesn’t look much like a football player in his pads and uniform, let alone without them. “My teammates told me at halftime not to worry about it, that I would hit the game-winner. Sure enough, with 19 seconds left. All kickers dream about this. … It’s nerve-wracking but it’s awesome.”
Basha went for the two-point conversion following a touchdown early in the fourth quarter to get back that missed extra point, but came up short then as well. It left the Bears down 42-40 after the third touchdown of the night from Horizon’s Luke Quinn, and the Huskies’ decision not to go for two and the possible three-point lead.
Basha started its final possession at its own 24-yard line with 2 minutes, 24 seconds left. Zach Werlinger, who threw for 453 yards and three touchdowns but also three interceptions, guided his team to the Horizon 8 — aided by a pass-interference penalty along the way — and took a 1-yard loss to center the ball for Thompson.
“I’m real proud of Cade. We were able to get him an opportunity to win it and he came through,” said Werlinger, who completed 27 passes in 46 attempts. “We’ve lost a lot of close ones and I’m going to enjoy this one tonight.”
Basha lost a pair of games by a combined four points in the second half of the season, which dropped it to a double-digit seed for the playoffs. That only made for a great matchup with the explosive Huskies.
“We anticipated it was going to be a shootout so we had to answer with big plays every time they scored,” Werlinger said.
The Bears and Huskies traded haymakers in the first half, when they were on pace for more than 1,400 combined yards, and went into the locker room with Horizon holding a 35-34 lead thanks to that missed extra point.
“You always worry about that coming back to bite you,” Basha coach Bernie Busken said. “… But it was nice for (Thompson) to be able to make up for that.”
Thompson was in that position thanks to 274 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns from running back Rajhan Meriwether and 113 receiving yards each from Ryan Robertson and Joe Storm. For Storm, all of his catches came in the second half.
For Horizon, which has not advanced past the first round since 2006, Quinn finished with 187 rushing yards and junior quarterback Dalton Sneed threw for 299 yards and ran for another 51. The Huskies, though, registered just seven points in the second half.
“It was just broken down plays in key situations,” Horizon coach Kris Heavner said. “In the first half we executed. Nothing changed (in the second half). It was just broken down plays. “… I was just hoping our defense would rise to the occasion. All our kids work hard and I was just hoping to put them in a spot to win, and unfortunately Basha made more plays than we did. That’s what it came down to.”
Basha 43, Horizon 42
Basha 14 20 0 9 — 43
Horizon 21 14 0 7 — 42
H — McLaurin 29 pass from Sneed (McAtamney kick), 10:40
B — Meriwether 72 pass from Werlinger (Thompson kick), 10:23
H — McLaurin 1 run (McAtamney kick), 4:47
B — Meriwether 2 run (Thompson kick), 2:22
H — Robinson 61 pass from Sneed (McAtamney kick), 1:00
B — Meriwether 2 run (Thompson kick), 10:57
B — Meriwether 8 run (Thompson kick), 8:07
H — Quinn 2 run (McAtamney kick), 4:54
B — O’Connor 59 pass from Werlinger (kick failed), 3:55
H — Quinn 23 pass from Sneed (McAtamney kick), 3:16
B — Robertson 17 pass from Werlinger (pass failed), 10:31
H — Quinn 32 run (McAtamney kick), 4:53
B — Thompson 29 FG, 0:19
First downs: B 31, H 22
Rushing: B 42-224, H 30-258
Passing (Comp.-Att.-Yards-TD-INT): B 28-47-462-3, H: 23-34-299-1
Fumbles-Lost: B 1-0, H 3-2
Penalties-Yards: B 6-43, H 8-80
RUSHING — Basha: Meriwether 26-152, Werlinger 12-57, Welsh 1-6, Storm 1-4, Robertson 1-3, O’Connor 1-2. Horizon: Quinn 11-187, Sneed 14-51, McLaurin 3-17, Marciniak 2-3.
PASSING — Basha: Werlinger 27-48-3-453, O’Connor 1-1-0-9. Horizon: Sneed 23-34-1-299.
RECEIVING — Basha: Meriwether 5-122, Storm 7-113, Robertson 10-113, O’Connor 5-105, Gibson 1-9. Horizon: McLaurin 5-68, Robinson 1-61, Quinn 7-60, McCarthy 4-58, Marciniak 5-52.
Contact writer: (480) 898-6549 or email@example.com.
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Top Backfields (QB, RB, FB):
Honorable Mention: Apollo (QB Jordan Gungl and RB Nico Bayless)
Top Receiving Corp (WR, TE):
Honorable Mention: Centennial (WRs Oche’ Myers, Keesean Green and Xavier Villanueva), Chandler (WRs Mitch McCulley, Dionte Sykes, junior Danny Mahan andElijah Sykes), Joy Christian (WRs Trevor Deason and Aaron Martin) Paradise Valley (WRs Jordan Brown and Carl Westlund)
5. Williams Field (Ryne Fuhrmark, Riley Gaumnitz, Dominic Geiger, Colter Gray and Luke Petruzzi if he stays at OL instead of TE)
Honorable Mention: Mt. Pointe (Natrell Curtis, Kyle Spight and Nick Carman), Perry (Chandon Herring and Austin Pauley), Sabino (Andrew Mike and Colin Laws), Saguaro (Alex Anderson and Pete Mettler), Shadow Ridge (Tevita Matu, Nick McCombs and Justin Pontarelli), Valley Vista (Roberto Roman, Caleb DeJesus and Ezra Maldanado)
2. Desert Ridge (junior Tevita Taufa, Aaron Whiting, Fou Ili, and junior Patrick Fitzgerald)
5. Highland (Grant Thompson and Grant Gale)
1. Desert Edge (Ismael Murphy-Richardson and Raheem Dowdell)
2. Salpointe (Jake Casteel and junior Taylor Powell)
4. Chaparral (Joe Nauert and Robbie Kliefield)
Honorable Mention: Deer Valley (Chanel Francis, Nick Gupton and Tyler Hoffman), Mt. Ridge (Zeke Hernandez and junior Billy McEowen)
2. Mt. Pointe (Jalen Brown, Dominique Fenstermacher, Trey Lauer and sophomore Paul Lucas)
Honorable Mention: Cesar Chavez (Chasyi Bryant and Melvin Lewis), Saguaro (J.T. Nettleton and junior Christian Kirk), Valley Vista (Terry Juniel and junior Elmondo McCoy), Westview (Kordell Provchy, D.J. Townsend and Desmond Washington)
Football: DV vs Basha Rajhan Meriwether, #5 of Basha, is tackled by Aaron Green, #42 of Desert Vista, during the playoff football game between Desert Vista and Basha at DV on Friday, Nov. 2, 2012.
Posted: Monday, August 5, 2013 11:59 am | Updated: 12:18 am, Tue Aug 6, 2013.
Outlook: Last season was an interesting one for Basha. The Bears finished up 7-4 and lost in the first round of the playoffs, but were very competitive against the state’s elite teams. A few different bounces could have resulted in a couple more wins and a longer run in the postseason. This year’s team has the look of a top-10 squad once again.
Quarterback Zach Werlinger is one of the most accomplished returning signal-callers in the state, while running back Rajhan Meriwether has proven his worth for the past two seasons on the varsity level. Graduation has taken away the team’s top receiving threats – wide receiver Nate Phillips and tight end Ronnie Querry – so new players must step up.
The team’s defense had some trouble against top-notch offenses last year but will look to improve this season behind a standout linebacker corps, led by Brandon Rutt. Coach Bernie Busken likes the overall team speed and said it’s a group which has fully bought in.
Basha briefly had the services of Coolidge transfer J.T. Gray, one of the best college prospects in Arizona. However, he has since moved to Mississippi and won’t be playing for the Bears. The addition of Gray would have lifted Basha to contender status, but now it’s more of a wait-and-see approach. There are several nice pieces returning, but much depends on the receiving corps and the defense. The schedule is grueling, so the win-loss record is not expected to be pristine, but Basha has the weapons to be in the upper tier of Division I again.
“We are excited for the 2013 season,” Busken said. “Our players have killed it in the weight room since last December and are looking great physically. The best thing we have going right now is our great attitude and coming together as a team. We will continue to improve each day and we hope this process gets us where we want to be by the end of the season.”
Division I, Section I
Coach: Bernie Busken
Last year’s record: 7-4, lost to Desert Vista in the first round of the Division I playoffs
Returning Starters: 5 on offense/5 on defense
Top returners: Zach Werlinger, Sr., QB (189-298, 2,689 yards, 30 TD, 12 INT); Rajhan Meriwether, Sr., RB (182 carries, 1,151 yards, 10 TD); Brandon Rutt, Sr., LB (72 tackles, 3 sacks); LB Jake Carlin (62 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 2 sacks); OL Ivan Sanchez (three-year starter).
Aug. 30 at Green Valley (Las Vegas); Sept. 6 at Centennial; Sept. 12 (Thur.) vs. Cesar Chavez; Sept. 20 vs. Pinnacle; Sept. 27 vs. Westview; Oct. 4 at Perry; Oct. 11 at Hamilton; Oct. 18 vs. Highland; Oct. 25 at Chandler; Nov. 1 vs. Gilbert
Sept. 6 at Centennial: The first in-state game for the Bears is a big one, as Centennial has been a power for years. Basha’s schedule is one of the toughest in the state from start to finish, and this should shine a light on the team’s strengths and weaknesses. The Bears will be good this season, but this game could help sort out how good.
Oct. 11 at Hamilton: Basha gave the Huskies quite a scare last year, as it led by a field goal heading into the fourth quarter before eventually losing, 31-24. Hamilton should be better this season, so the Bears will need a big-time effort to pull off the upset.
Oct. 25 at Chandler: One of the most memorable games of 2012 came between these two teams. Basha led 17-0 at halftime but the Wolves scored 41 points in the second half for a 10-point win. These teams seem to be on similar footing once again and it’s lining up to be another intriguing affair.