Basha may want to consider changing its school nickname. Calling themselves the Bears does not do justice to the school’s football team.
Instead of a lumbering, mauling animal, maybe calling itself the vapor-trails would be more fitting.
Basha (5-1) finished with more than 600 yards of offense, with more than 500 coming through the air as Zach Werlinger put up video game-like numbers in a 42-14 victory over Gilbert.
The junior completed 21 of 27 passes for 485 yards and six scores. Five different players caught a touchdown pass, paced by Ronnie Querry who caught two touchdowns and eight passes for 169 yards on the night.
“We had some different reads tonight,” said Werlinger, who didn’t even play in the fourth quarter. “Our line did a great job keeping people off of me and our receivers got open.”
Basha never let the Tigers (1-5) catch their breath on defense. The Bears opened a 14-0 first quarter lead on touchdown passes of 5 and 49 yards to Querry and Nate Phillips, respectively. After Gilbert cut the gap to 14-7 on a 70-yard interception return by Jonathan Ridout, it was full-speed ahead for the Bears.
Basha scored on its next three possessions in less than seven minutes of the second quarter. Werlinger hit Querry on a 58-yard strike, Jared Schmidt caught the first of his two scores from 5 yards out, and Bryce Brooks hauled in a 17-yard pass for a 35-7 halftime lead.
“When you don’t stop the pass consistently, and don’t run the ball consistently, this is what happens against a team like Basha,” Gilbert coach Leland Rodgers said.
Despite missing a series in the first half, Werlinger still managed to throw for 393 yards. He started the game finding his quick receivers on slants and short flares near the line of scrimmage. When the Tigers crept closer to the line, it opened deeper patterns and the Bears took advantage.
“We thought we could run by them. We have quick backs and receivers. When they get going we like how we can move the ball,” Werlinger said.
“Their front line defensively is pretty tough,” Basha coach Bernie Busken said. “We wanted to get our tempo up and take advantage of our quickness outside. We’re getting better.”
Basha’s defense wasn’t too shabby either. The Bears held Gilbert to 115 yards in the first half, while forcing seven punts and getting an interception. The Tigers’ only offensive touchdown came on a Taylor Malolo five-yard score with 4:38 left in the third quarter.
“We had spurts where we played better, but we are still learning to compete at this level,” Rogers said.
Malolo finished with 104 yards rushing on 25 carries.
Basha 42, Gilbert 14
B – 14 21 7 0 – 42
G – 7 0 7 0 – 14
B – Querry 5 pass from Werlinger (Carrillo kick)
B – Phillips 49 pass from Werlinger (Carrillo kick)
G – Ridout 70 interception return (Carver kick)
B – Query 58 pass from Werlinger (Carrillo kick)
B – Schmidt 5 pass from Werlinger (Carrillo kick)
B – Brooks 17 pass from Werlinger (Carrillo kick)
G – Malolo 5 run (Carver kick)
B – Schmidt 34 pass from Werlinger (Carrillo kick)
First downs 17 12
Rushing 24-127 39-137
Passing 501 111
Comp-Att-Int 27-37-1 8-23-1
Penalties-yards 7-75 6-60
Fumbles-lost 1-1 0-0