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.
Yet the two had very different takes on No. 4 Westview's 38-28 victory over the No. 6 Bears.
"We left 21-31 points on the field," Busken said after his team's feverish fourth-quarter rally came up short. "We didn't do some things that we normally do. Not only do you have to play hard but you have to play smart as well. We can't leave points on the field like that. A lot of things we just left on the field."
Bowen, whose team moved to 5-0 and is one of just three left undefeated in Division I, took the stance that the final score was not indicative of by how much the Knights outplayed Basha.
"I think our kids dominated," Bowen said. "Everyone talks about us as a Cinderella-type team and it's not that situation at all. People can talk about David and Goliath all they want but we don't look at it that way and I think that showed tonight.
"All we ever hear about is how Westview has to go play on the East side and can they step up to the challenge. We've been doing it for years but we don't get a lot of that play. Other than two turnovers, we dominated the football game."
The statistics tend to back up Bowen — that is not to say Busken is wrong, as his team certainly had the opportunity to score more points. The Knights out-rushed Basha by more than 400 yards and held a 150-yard advantage in total yards through three quarters. Westview appeared in complete control midway through the fourth quarter and on the verge of running out the clock.
But a pair of fumbles gave the Bears (3-2) an opening and they reached the end zone both times to cut Westview's once-17-point lead to three, 31-28, with four minutes to play. Basha then came up with the stop it needed but could not capitalize again as four straight passes — none an easy catch — went off a receiver's hands near midfield.
Jalen Johnson put the dagger in the Bears in the final minute with his fourth touchdown to cap a 258-yard night.
"They were giving us some stuff that we could take advantage of with Jalen," Bowen said, "and Jalen is a heck of a back. All the backs ran hard."
Westview amassed 460 rushing yards on 53 carries and finished with 564 total yards to Basha's 499.
"They're really good at doing what they do," Busken said. "They have an excellent scheme and good blocking up front. But wasn't it funny how when we scored a time or two, how jacked up our defense got, then we stopped them."
The Bears' Zach Werlinger threw for 374 yards but two Basha first-half drives fizzled inside the red zone both ended with missed field goals. The Bears also turned the ball over on downs at the Westview 5-yard line early in the fourth.
"So we have to play better all the time; both sides of the ball, we have to play better," Busken said.
Jared Schmidt, Joe Storm and Doc O'Connor each eclipsed 100 receiving yards for Basha, and O'Connor and Schmidt connected for an 80-yard halfback pass on the first play from scrimmage.
WESTVIEW 38, BASHA 28
Westview 7 17 7 7 — 38
Basha 7 7 0 14 — 28
B — Schmidt 80 pass from O'Connor (Thompson kick), 11:42
W — Johnson 2 run (Lucio kick), 6:53
W — Burks 24 pass from Provchy (Lucio kick), 9:00
W — Johnson 8 run (Lucio kick), 3:11
B — Conrad 2 run (Thompson kick), 0:42
W — Lucio 26 FG, 0:00
W — Johnson 3 run (Lucio kick), 0:53
B — Storm 37 pass from Werlinger (Thompson kick), 5:47
B — Werlinger 1 run (Thompson kick), 4:22
W — Johnson 18 run (Lucio kick), 0:57
First downs 29, 23
Rushing 53-460, 18-45
Passing 6-14-0-104, 26-49-0-454
Penalties-Yards 8-79, 5-55
RUSHING — Westview: Johnson 23-258, Provchy 9-84, Washington 8-52, Bowles 4-40, Travis 8-34, Mitchell 1-(-8). Basha: Conrad 6-26, O'Connor 1-14, Werlinger 11-5.
PASSING — Westview: Provchy 6-12-0-104, Sullivan 0-1-0-0, Washington 0-1-0-0. Basha: Werlinger 25-48-0-374, O'Connor 1-1-0-80.
RECEIVING — Westview: Johnson 2-39, Travis 2-37, Burks 1-24, Washington 1-4. Basha: Schmidt 6-124, Storm 7-120, O'Connor 6-107, Yamamoto 4-75, Nall 1-10, Robertson 1-9, Hoewing 1-9.
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