Beating the rival school is always important in high school football. For Green Valley, this week’s Henderson Bowl matchup against rival Basic is more meaningful than ever.
The Gators are 0-2 in the Southeast League standings and will be fighting to keep a streak of five consecutive playoff appearances alive when they travel to Basic at 7 p.m. Friday.
“I do believe it takes extra importance because of the spot we’re in right now,” Green Valley senior linebacker C.J. Araujo said. “But I don’t think it’s going to affect us that much. I think we’re just going to go out there and play football.”
The Gators (3-3) have won four of the past five Henderson Bowls, but No. 5 Basic (5-1, 2-0 Southeast) is coming off a 26-21 win last fall. Seven of the past 11 games between the teams have been decided by seven points or fewer.
“It’s a great challenge for us, regardless of whether or not it’s the Henderson Bowl,” Green Valley coach Brian Castro said. “They’re having a really good season over there.
“In the past, it’s been one of those (games) where you can throw out records and athletic ability and whatever you want to call it, but I know both sides of the ball are going to show up and give a great effort.”
The Wolves enter the game averaging 45.2 points behind one of the area’s top passing attacks. Quarterback Aaron McAllister has completed 67.5 percent of his passes for 1,837 yards and 27 touchdowns with three interceptions. Frank Harris (33 catches, 683 yards, 8 TDs), and DeShawn Eagles (40 catches, 578 yards, 9 TDs) give him two outstanding receiving options.
“They’ve got some weapons, and the quarterback does a real good job of finding them,” Castro said. “And when he needs to run, he’ll take off and run. For us, it’s about staying in our lanes in pass rush and trying to keep him in the pocket and then covering their dudes downfield.”
Green Valley has struggled against some of the area’s better passing teams, allowing a combined 98 points and 595 passing yards against Centennial and Liberty.
“It’s exciting because we get a chance to prove ourselves against a real high-intensity offense,” Araujo said. “If we can stop that, I feel like we’ll be pretty good for the last two games.”
The stands at Basic figure to be packed Friday, but the Gators got a taste of that last week at their homecoming game against Silverado. The Skyhawks dominated that game, beating Green Valley 35-7 before an estimated crowd of 5,000.
“That left a bitter taste in our mouth, and I hope that we can come back and that will help us and motivate us,” Green Valley linebacker Eric Faber said. “Playing in front of 5,000 and losing like we did, it’s just not good for either offense or defense. And we want to come out and prove ourselves this game.”
Contact prep sports editor Damon Seiters at 702-380-4587 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @DamonSeiters