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Basha coach Bernie Busken gets the attention of a player as his team plays Chandler, Friday, Nov. 15, 2013 in Chandler. [Brant Clinard/ Special to Tribune]
Chandler could do no wrong in the first half Friday night.
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.
Basha did its part to control its own playoff destiny by beating Gilbert, 40-14 on Friday.
Basha coach Bernie Busken, Friday, Oct 25, 2013 at Chandler. [Jerry Burch/ Special to Tribune]
Highland coach Pete Wahlheim paced lightly in the end zone after he spoke to his players on Friday night. He was in his thoughts as he waited for the regular post-game pomp and circumstance in the form of a brief chat with visiting reporters.
Hamilton head coach Steve Belles, Friday, Oct. 11, 2013 during the Huskies' matchup with cross-town rival Basha. [Jerry Burch/Special to Tribune]
Basha head coach Bernie Busken, Friday, Oct. 11, 2013 during the Bears' matchup at Hamilton. [Jerry Burch/Special to Tribune]
Basha used a steady passing attack and a stout defense to rout Perry 49-0 Friday night.
Basha coach Bernie Busken and Avondale Westview counterpart Jeff Bowen watched the same game Friday night. The only difference was they were on opposite sidelines at Basha.
Westview's Dordell Provchy barely gets off a pass as Basha's Steven Westbrook and Brandon Rutt wrap him up, Friday, Sept. 27, 2013 at Basha. [Jerry Burch/ Special to Tribune]
Westview's running back Desmond Washington gains ground in their victory over Basha, Friday, Sept. 27, 2013 at Basha. [Jerry Burch/ Special to Tribune]
Basha's Brandon Rutt drives Westview's ball carrier to the ground, Friday, Sept. 27, 2013 at Basha. [Jerry Burch/ Special to Tribune]
Westview's Desmond Washington is stopped by Basha's defensive back Jason Tamarkin in the first quarter, Friday, Sept. 27, 2013 at Basha. [Jerry Burch/ Special to Tribune]
Basha's wide receiver Doc O'Connor attempts to dodge Westview's Pete Ramirez, Friday, Sept. 27, 2013 at Basha. [Jerry Burch/ Special to Tribune]
Basha coach Bernie Busken, Friday, Sept. 27, 2013. [Jerry Burch/ Special to Tribune]
Basha's varsity football team takes the field before facing off with Westview, Friday, Sept. 27, 2013 at Basha. [Jerry Burch/ Special to Tribune]
Westview coach Jeff Bowen, Friday, Sept. 27, 2013. [Jerry Burch/ Special to Tribune]
Basha's Antonio Ross-Jones and Bryant Black bring down the Westview play near then one yard line in second quarter action. Friday, Sept. 27, 2013 at Basha. [Jerry Burch/ Special to Tribune]
Basha fell behind Avondale Westview on Friday night and rallied to within three points late in the game but could not complete the comeback. The team's run defense didn't perform very well, and while quarterback Zach Werlinger had a nice game, it wasn't enough. The Bears remain at No. 6 because the loss was to a quality Knights' squad.
The Bears had no trouble dispatching Perry, 49-0, on Friday night to remain at No. 6 in the rankings. Quarterback Zach Werlinger was efficient and Doc O'Connor had a touchdown run of 87 yards and a touchdown reception of 70 yards. Perhaps the biggest development was the return of standout running back Rajhan Meriwether from injury. Basha plays Hamilton next week and will need all hands on deck.
Westview didn't play great but still dispatched Laveen Cesar Chavez, 36-20, on Friday. The Knights have a very easy schedule the rest of the way and should finish the regular season undefeated. The real test will come in the playoffs. Westview remains at No. 4 in the rankings.
Is Hamilton in full-fledged panic mode? Not likely, but it’s clear this hasn’t been Hamilton teams of yore. The offensive struggles have been well-documented, even with all the injuries, and the special teams’ struggles have been the most surprising. The question here, though, is how well that aligns with Basha’s strong passing game and (at times) suspect running game and defense. Again, the Huskies are going to play keep-away by grinding out 4, 5, 6 yards per carry and keep Zach Werlinger’s potent passing attack on the sidelines. Basha’s offense, however, isn’t quite as randomly explosive as Chandler or even Mountain Pointe, and the Huskies’ defense – provided it’s not on the field the entire game again – better aligns in defending the pass. If Basha’s Rajhan Meriwether continues to get back up to speed after returning from a hamstring injury last week, then Basha’s balance will cause problems for Hamilton. The Bears are looking for their first win in school history against Hamilton (similar to Chandler’s feat last week) but not just yet...
Prediction: Hamilton 20, Basha 17
-- Mark Heller
The Knights rolled past Valley Vista, 49-0. The team remains at No. 4 in the rankings and continues to show it could make a deep run in the postseason.
It was another easy win for the Knights, this one 55-13 over Phoenix North. Westview has a couple more easy games against Millennium and Maryvale as it will almost assuredly enter the playoffs undefeated. Westview remains at No. 4 in the rankings.