Payton LaCivita hit Braiden Siever with a 10-yard touchdown pass with 1:27 left in the game Friday to seal a 13-3 Chandler Basha victory over visiting Phoenix North Canyon.
LaCivita, who alternates at quarterback with the Bears' Troy Graham, set up the touchdown three plays earlier with a 36-yard pass to junior Patrick Delgado on a third-and-11 play with 2:48 left and the ball at midfield.
The victory atoned for a loss to the defending 5A Division II champions midway through last season.
“It shows that we can compete at this level,” said Basha linebacker Kyle Flannery, whose Bears are only in their second year in 5A football.
Basha Coach Tim McBurney agreed.
“This was a real confidence builder,” McBurney said. “This was going to be a tough game. You got to take it away from somebody, they’re not going to give it to you. And they went out fighting.
“North Canyon is still a real good ballclub, and we expect them to be in throughout this season. This is a good win for us.”
Until the final offensive drive by the Bears, the Basha defense, which had two shutouts coming into Friday night’s game, was again pivotal while the Bears worked to get their offense going.
The effort included a big defensive play with four minutes left in the game, when North Canyon quarterback Blake Schembri was hit and fumbled as he tried to scramble out of the backfield. Basha Greg Freeman recovered the ball at midfield.
“In the first half, (the defense) kept us in the game,” McBurney said. “They helped us until our offense was able to get going in that second half.”
Basha linebacker Flannery, who was instrumental in helping stop a couple of North Canyon offensive drives, said the defense wants to continue its work.
The Bears have only allowed three points in three games played so far this season, with those points coming on a 23-yard field goal by North Canyon in the second quarter.
“We just have been focusing on what an offense does and adjusting to what they do,” Flannery said. “We want to keep them on their toes every time they have the ball, and so far, we have done that. But we can’t sit on this win. We have to keep adapting and we have to go into every game as if we are 0-1.”