Speed and defense were lethal weapons in the Basha arsenal Friday night.
A pair of punt returns for touchdowns from speedy junior Devin Reed and an aggressive, swarming defense carried the Bears to a decisive 35-14 win over host Dobson. In the process, Basha moves to 7-1, while the Mustangs dropped to 1-7.
Reed’s first return of 91 yards, down the right sideline, gave the Bears their initial tally and an early lead. Midway through the second period, Reed took another punt near midfield, side-stepped a few tacklers and sped up the middle for his second score of the first half. This one was a 44 yard return to The House, and 14-0 lead mid-way through the second session.
“Coaches always say watch what’s in front of you and then let your speed take over,” Reed said. “I did fumble and lost the ball (in the first quarter), so I had to make up for my mistakes.”
Reed’s two scores set the tempo and eventually, the Bears rolled out to a decisive 35-7 advantage by early in the final period. By that time, the defense picked up where Reed left off. The Bears’ defense was so effective that the contingent limited the Dobson running game to just 81 yards for the game.
Spearheaded by tackle senior Dhane Cumberledge (6-3, 270) and senior linebacker Zack Williams (6-4, 220), the defense appeared more in the Mustangs backfield than the Dobson offensive backs. Cumberledge keyed the defense with three batted passes and a blocked field attempt from Dobson’s Brian Franklin.
“Defense has always been big here,” said quarterback Kyle Duran, who tossed a pair of touchdown passes to key the win. “It seems the defense is always coming up with big plays. Honestly, you can’t win without a good defense.”
This one was hardly in doubt, as Reed’s scores kept the Mustangs at arm’s length from the start. Duran contributed with those two touchdown passes, and completed 7-12 for 153 yards on the night.
Duran’s first strike was delivered on a 4th-and-goal from the Mustangs’ 8-yard line. The junior signal-caller hit Dejzon Walker over the middle for the score just before halftime. Midway through the third quarter, Duran connected with Nate Phillips on a 60-yard scoring connection. By that time, the Bears were ahead 35-7.
For the game, the Bears were led by running back Myles Smith, who gained 51 yards on 11 carries and one touchdown. Dean Vo added 45 rushing yards on 11 carries.
For Dobson, Yaw Mensah paced the Mustangs with 36 yards on 16 carries and one touchdown.