For 24 minutes, third-ranked Basha didn’t look like a third-ranked team at Tiger Stadium.
But Kyle Duran quickly turned his team around and led the Bears to a 38-13 win Friday over Gilbert in a 5A Central Region game.
That was after the Bears (4-0) gained all of 22 yards and trailed 13-0 at intermission.
“We just threw a little fit at halftime because we ran 13 plays and didn’t get any first downs and looked like a first-grade team,” said Basha coach Bernie Busken.
It didn’t take long for the real Bears to appear.
On the second play of the second half, Kyle Duran found Nate Phillips on a flare, he reached the first down marker, broke a couple of tackles and outran the defense for a 79-yard score.
“We didn’t make any adjustments, we just had to come out and play,” Phillips said of the second-half turnaround. “And when coach called ’93,’ that was me and I had to make the play.”
Basha got a little lucky when Gilbert (1-4) had a bad snap on a fourth down at its 20, and punter Josh Moore was run down at the Tiger 7.
Duran hit Dejzon Walker on the second of four TD passes he threw in the half and Basha had the lead for good, 14-13.
The Bears turned three Tiger turnovers and the bad snap into 24 points. Duran had 171 yards passing – all but 10 in the second half. Devin Reed seemed to burst the homecoming crowd’s bubble by intercepting a Nate Causey pass at the Tiger 38 with 10:51 to play and Basha clinging to a 17-13 lead.
Reed returned the interception to the Gilbert 9 and two plays later, Duran hit Walker on a hitch that Walker turned into a touchdown.
“We left our defense on the field too long, we fell asleep a couple of times,” Busken said about the slow start. “We just need a little something to get us jump-started and that little sophomore did a pretty good job.”
For Gilbert, which seemed to find its offense last week in a romp over, it was a case of taking advantage. The Tigers got on the board first after Basha muffed a punt at its 33. Jared Johnson scored on the next play for Gilbert.
The Tigers then overcame a chop block penalty, using a gadget play to score again. Causey gave the ball to running back/part-time quarterback Young Tanner, who floated a pass to Nick Curtis for a 45-yard touchdown and Gilbert had a 13-0 lead with 2:41 left in the first quarter.
“We played a good first half but in the second they just slammed us,” Gilbert coach Dan Dunn said.
The Tigers’ offense was all but shut down in the second half, never getting past the Basha 40 after the break.