With less than 5 minutes left in the game Friday the sprinklers came on at Thunder Stadium, interrupting the game for about four minutes.
Unfortunately for Desert Vista it wasn’t the only thing ill-timed for the Thunder in a 31-23 season opening loss to Basha.
The passing game was off all game, the defense couldn’t get a stop, trailing 28-23, after play resumed from sprinkler malfunction, and an illegal formation on a Thunder punt wiped out a nice effort by Payton Theisler to pin Basha inside its own 10 only to have the re-punt blocked.
Basha’s Brandon Yamomoto blocked the punt to give Basha a short field with a five-point lead. Three plays later the Bears were up 28-16 with 10:13 left in the game.
“Like coaches said we lost the game, but it could have turned out different if we did some things better,” senior running back T.J Roberts said. “This was a good experience and Basha gave us a good look. We are going to bounce back.”
The Thunder were almost able to figure it out in the end when they rallied after the blocked punt. Alex Farina (6 of 21 for 88 yards, 2 INT) connected with Ray Figueroa on a well-designed misdirection pass play on fourth down.
Desert Vista was facing a 4th and 3 from the Basha 48 when Farina and most of the offense rolled left before he squared his shoulders and threw back to the right side to find Figueroa inside the 15-yard line. It led to a 1-yard run by Roberts, his second of the game to close within 28-23 with 5:40 left.
Soon thereafter the sprinklers came on and when the action returned the Bears, led by sophomore quarterback Ryan Kelley, converted a couple of quick first downs before eventually getting a 48-yard field goal by Cade Thompson.
It capped off the first win for Basha head coach for Gerald Todd, who couldn’t have timed his ascension to leader of program at the same time Kelley took over the offense.
The sophomore completed 22 of 36 passes for 246 yards with an interception. He totaled four touchdowns – two rushing TDs in the first half and two passing scores to J.D. Alexander in the second half.
He totaled 309 yards and when the team needed to run out the clock he handled the game well enough to get the win.
“He’s a young one and his first time on the varsity level,” Todd said. “He learned a lot and I think he is going to be special in the future.”
The Thunder are more worried about the immediate after losing their season opener for the second year in row.
“There’s a lot we need to work on,” senior linebacker Saxon McDonald said. “We never gave up. We will come back.”
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.
Basha 31, Desert Vista 23
B 7 7 7 10 - 31
DV 0 10 6 7 – 23
B – Kelley 16 run (Wheaton kick), 1:20
B – Kelley 13 run (Wheaton kick), 8:57
DV – Tamburo 44 FG, 3:50
DV – van Raaphorst 23 INT return (Tamburo kick), 3:42
DV – Roberts 8 run (PAT failed), 9:34
B – Alexander 13 pass from Kelley (Wheaton kick), 5:19
B – Alexander 5 pass from Kelley (Wheaton kick), 10:53
DV – Roberts 1 run (Tamburo kick),
B – Wheaton 48 FG
First downs 17 10
Rush-yards 26-141 28-114
Comp-pass-Int 22-36-1 6-21-2
Pass yards 246 88
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-0
Penalties 9-98 4-49
B – Kelley 11-63, Reed 3-27, O’Connor 1-26, Serrano 5-11, Miller 4-27, Dean-Gipson 1-10. DV – Roberts 11-83, Ford 6-14, Tippit 4-4, Farina 4-1, Hartshorn-West 1-3, Callaghan 3-9.
B – Kelley 22-36-1-246; DV – Farina 6-21-2-88.
B – Dean-Gipson 7-72, Storm 2-57, Reed 3-21, O’Connor 3-43, Schmidt 2-37, Miller 1-(-) 5, Alexander 2-18. DV – Figueroa 2-45, Roberts 1-7, Dean 2-22, Callaghan 1-14.
Missed FG – Tamburo (38).