The Desert Shields (5-5), playing their first game under new coach Sam Norris, appeared confused and disorganized from the opening kickoff to the final whistle.
Norris, who became the team’s third head coach in 11 games after former coach Perryn Hale was released Monday because of problems with his teaching license, watched in frustration as his squad turned the ball over seven times.
“I’m not going to make any excuses,” Norris said. “It’s just hard to gain any momentum when you’re turning the ball over like that.”
Basic coach Jeff Cahill said his team stuck to a game plan that was developed before Cheyenne’s coaching dilemma was announced.
“None of that really matters,” said Cahill, whose squad led 19-7 at halftime. “They came out to play, and we came out to play.”
Actually, two different Basic squads came out to play, as Cahill played his reserves throughout the second half.
“We had a plan coming into this game,” he said. “We wanted to let our starters play the first half and our second team play the second half, no matter what.”
That plan went off without a hitch, as the Wolves (8-1) forced three turnovers in the first six minutes, taking a 7-0 lead on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Dobbins to Omar Valenzuela.
Back-to-back fumbles by the Desert Shields led to an 18-yard Edward Villaros touchdown run and a 34-yard scoring sprint by Dobbins early in the second quarter to give Basic a 19-0 lead.
Cheyenne answered with a 14-play, 85-yard drive that was capped by Kody Stahl’s 14-yard TD pass to Xavian Johnson to make it 19-7 late in the half.
But the Wolves dominated the second half, with reserve quarterback Vince Carducci connecting with Blaze Galardy and Daeshawn Nixon for TD passes and Rayshawn Gulley rushing for a 12-yard score.
Carducci ran six times for 42 yards and completed 3 of 7 passes for 44 yards and two touchdowns.
Stahl completed 10 of 24 passes for 159 yards for the Desert Shields (5-5). Teammate Chris Spencer caught five passes for 111 yards.
Liberty 24, Coronado 19 — At Coronado, two quarterbacks accounted for three touchdowns for the Patriots (6-3, 4-2 Southeast), who turned back a late scare to edge the Cougars (3-5, 0-5) and clinch their first playoff berth.
Samuel Tai scored the first half’s lone touchdown with a 32-yard run in the first quarter.
Fellow Liberty QB Tyler Knepp completed only two passes, both for touchdowns, to Anthony Norris for 49 yards and Niko Kapeli for 59.
Coronado quarterback Ryan Newton was 14 of 25 for 228 yards and three touchdowns. Cody Giordano had TD receptions of 49 and 21 yards.
Thomas Stone’s 26-yard field goal capped the scoring for the Patriots, who turned away the Cougars’ last charge after Coronado defensive lineman John Saltonstall recovered a fumble with 30 seconds left.
Rancho 41, Chaparral 32 — At Chaparral, junior Shamel David rushed for 295 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Rams (2-7, 2-3 Northeast) past the Cowboys (0-9, 0-5).
David scored on runs of 16, 8 and 49 yards.
Harvey Yarbrough took the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown and later scored on a 1-yard run that gave the Rams a 41-26 lead with 4:12 left.
Chaparral led 18-14 at the end of the first quarter, thanks to two long TD receptions by Bre Onta Griffin and a 36-yard interception return for a score by defensive lineman Arvid Bruns, but trailed 28-18 at halftime.
Chaparral junior quarterback Tyler Luciano started the game 4-for-5 for 91 yards but finished 10-for-24 for 150 yards. He also had a 1-yard TD run.
Griffin had three receptions for 91 yards and two touchdowns.
Spring Valley (5-5) led 19-6 in the second quarter after Taj Allen scored on a 13-yard run, and Canyon Springs (6-2) was forced to punt on the following drive. But the Pioneers recovered a fumble on the return, which led to Deavin Rimmey’s 2-yard TD run with 31 left in the first half.
Marquice Turner scored on a 20-yard run for Canyon Springs to open the second half, and Rimmey added a 14-yard TD run to give the Pioneers a 26-19 lead.
Spring Valley tied the score on Brandon Lopez’s 38-yard touchdown reception from Jordan Cox.
Devin Fleischer nailed a 35-yard field goal to give the Pioneers a 29-26 lead early in the fourth. The Grizzlies forced a turnover and went 66 yards, scoring on a 7-yard run by Allen to go up 33-29.
Canyon Springs followed with the game-winning drive.
Wharton also completed 3 of 7 passes for 58 yards and a touchdown but threw two interceptions.
Tabor Shy ran for 69 yards and a touchdown on six carries for the Vikings. Wallace Dean also scored on a 16-yard pass from Wharton in the first quarter.
JaQuorrey Williams finished 8-for-15 for 88 yards for the Sundevils, while handing the ball to Daytron Green, who had 120 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.
Joseph Ortega led all receivers with 63 yards on five receptions for Eldorado.
Sixth-ranked Del Sol (8-1, 4-1 Southeast) can claim the league title with a win next week at home against Coronado.
Evan Weinstock caught five passes for 161 yards and three touchdowns and also returned a Reed fumble 30 yards for a score for the Dragons.
Rakeem Griffin ran for 209 yards and three touchdowns for Green Valley (3-6, 1-4 Southeast). Ryan Lopez intercepted a Troy Miller pass and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown for the Gators.
Stephen Nixon rushed for 137 yards and two TDs on nine carries for No. 4-ranked Cimarron.
Faith Lutheran’s Joe Portaro threw for 274 yards and two touchdowns and scored on two quarterback sneaks. Don Pearson had 192 yards receiving for the Crusaders.
Powell rushed for 164 yards on eight carries, including scoring runs of 45, 21 and 33 yards for Gorman (10-0, 8-0 Southwest). Belen had three carries for 70 yards, including a 49-yard TD run.
Powell finished the regular season with 1,011 yards rushing and Belen with 1,013.
Jarrett Solomon threw touchdown passes of 48 and 19 yards for the Gaels, who will host Cheyenne a week from today in the first round of the Sunset Region playoffs.
Gorman’s defense, which had its sixth shutout of the year, opened the scoring as Ian Bobak scooped up a Clark fumble and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown on the game’s third play.
Jelani Walls also scored for the Gorman defense in the fourth quarter, as he took a fumble 61 yards for a score. The Gaels held Clark (5-5, 3-5) to 112 yards of offense.
Palo Verde (9-1, 7-1 Northwest) scored 14 points in its first five plays, and then Blake took over. He had punt-return TDs of 64 and 61 yards in the second quarter, and the Panthers led 28-0 by halftime.
Chappell Thomas led the Panthers with 76 yards on five carries. Blake added 75 yards on 12 attempts for Palo Verde, which gained 294 yards on the ground.
Thomas opened the scoring with a 38-yard run, and Brandon Wright added 4-yard scoring run as the Panthers led by 14 just 3:41 into the game.
Martell Crockett ran for 160 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries for Legacy, which finished the regular season unbeaten.
After Wiedemann’s score, Marcus McCollum intercepted a pass and returned it to the Shadow Ridge 30-yard line, setting up a 1-yard TD run from Crockett.
Crockett’s 40-yard touchdown run with 3:21 left capped the scoring.
Legacy will host Spring Valley in the first round of the playoffs.
Hall had TD runs of 17, 10 and 5 yards. Fullback Johnathan Hall added 96 yards rushing for Sierra Vista, which rushed for 303 yards.
Pahrump quarterback Brandon Murphy had a 75-yard pass to running back Shane Ervine for the Trojans’ only touchdown.
Flanagan had a 33-yard TD run in the second quarter and a 42-yard TD in the third. Virgil capped the scoring with an 11-yard TD run and a 36-yard scoring scamper in the third quarter.
Flanagan and Virgil each had 10 carries, with Flanagan gaining 144 yards and Virgil 116.
The Aggies held the Rattlers to 43 yards rushing. Arbor View totaled 331 yards in its final game of the season.
Senior Demon Scurry returned a punt 83 yards for a touchdown late in the second quarter to give the Aggies a a 24-0 halftime lead.
Quarterback Kyler Neilson opened the scoring for Arbor View with a 1-yard keeper in the first quarter.
MacKenzie Karas kicked a 23-yard field goal in the second quarter for the Aggies.
Durango 49, Bonanza 28 — At Durango, Julio Mora rushed for 146 yards and four touchdowns on 22 carries as the Trailblazers (8-2, 7-1 Southwest) beat the Bengals (3-7, 3-5).
Mora scored on the game’s second play from scrimmage with a 20-yard scamper around the right end.
Bonanza’s Dasean Martin, who had 159 yards on 18 carries, answered on the Bengals’ first play on offense with an 84-yard touchdown run.
The Trailblazers came back with a seven-play, 80-yard drive capped by Mora’s 12-yard touchdown run.
The Bengals responded again with a six-play, 70-yard drive that ended with quarterback Sterling Sprau’s 32-yard run to tie it at 14.
Mora added a 20-yard TD reception and a 48-yard TD run to put Durango ahead 28-14 at halftime.
Durango scored 21 points in the third quarter behind two touchdowns by Micheal Mehling (107 yards on nine carries) and a 25-yard interception return for a score by John Williams.
Durango quarterback Chase Roberts went 7-for-12 for 103 yards and two touchdowns.
Sprau was 9-for-16 for 139 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions for Bonanza.
Roycen Shepherd rushed for 105 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries to lead 10th-ranked Desert Oasis. Chaunsi Heatley and Ronald
Hunt each rushed for 90 yards for the Diamondbacks. Hunt had three TD runs, and Heatley scored once for Desert Oasis, which won its fifth straight game.