Chandler Basha rallies to down host Phoenix Desert Vista

Chandler Basha rallies to down host Phoenix Desert Vista


Chandler Basha rallies to down host Phoenix Desert Vista


Ryan Kelley, making his first varsity start at a school known for quarterbacks, threw for two touchdowns and rushed for two others to lead and rally Chandler Basha to a 31-23 victory over host Phoenix Desert Vista on Friday night in the first game of the season for both Division I schools.

“It makes me feel trusted by my coaching staff,” Kelley said, after being asked to describe making his first varsity start as a sophomore. “It really feels great. I was a little bit nervous before the game but I trusted my teammates. I trusted my line and I trusted my receivers.”

It was also a milestone night for Basha Head Coach Gerald Todd, who earned his first win after nearly a decade as an offensive assistant coach at the school.

“This is my first win as a head coach and it makes this win kind of special,” Todd said. “This is a special group of young men that played today. Desert Vista is a great program and to get a win against them is very, very special. … It showed a lot about our kids to overcome adversity (after falling behind in the second half).”

Kelley’s two rushing touchdowns came in the first half, both around left end. The first was a 16-yard run on a fourth and 1, and the second was a 14-yard rush about midway through the second quarter.

Leading 14-0, Basha allowed Desert Vista (0-1) to quickly get back in the game.

The hosts started their rally when kicker Riggs Tamburo made a 44-yard field goal with 3:55 left in the first half.

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On the first play of the ensuing possession, Desert Vista defender Cade Van Raaphorst, who was all over the field all night, picked off a pass by Kelley and raced 25 yards for a touchdown.

Trailing 14-10 at intermission, Desert Vista’s T.J. Roberts returned the second-half kickoff 85 yards to Basha’s 15-yard line. Four plays later, Roberts capped a short drive with an 8-yard touchdown run, and Desert Vista led 16-14 with 9:34 left in the third quarter.

Basha, which ran a no-huddle, pass-oriented offense for most of the game, responded on its next possession and re-took the lead for good when Kelley threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to J.D. Alexander who dived into the goal-line pylon as defenders closed in.

Down 28-16, Desert Vista made a late bid for a comeback. Quarterback Alex Farina completed a 34-yard pass that help set up a 1–yard touchdown plunge by Roberts with 5:40 left.

After a short break for both teams – during which school officials scrambled to turn off the field sprinklers – Basha closed out the win with a lengthy 12-play drive and a 43-yard field goal with 17.7 seconds to play.

After recovering a squib quick, Desert Vista got off two plays from midfield but both were incomplete passes.


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