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Salpointe’s turnover woes contribute to Basha’s 46-14 victory


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Chandler Basha took advantage of three Salpointe interceptions and a fumble to pull away to a 46-14 dominating win at Ed Doherty Stadium on Friday night. The Lancers, now a 6A program, went up against one of the top 6A teams in the state with many Division I prospects.

— The four turnovers led to scores for Basha (3-0), beginning with an interception by Oregon commit Cole Martin on Salpointe’s opening possession of the game. Starting from the Lancer 29, Arizona recruiting target Demond Williams Jr., a junior, completed two passes for 16 yards before Idaho commit Deshaun Buchanan ran into the end zone from 13 yards with 10:23 left in the first quarter.

Basha junior QB Demond Williams Jr. is being heavily recruited by Arizona (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

— In the following possession, Salpointe drove from its 25 to the Basha 23 in 11 plays before Vince Lenzy’s 99-yard interception return for a touchdown to put the Bears ahead 13-0 with 4:19 left in the first quarter.

“All we’ve got to do is either run run for the first down, run it out of bounds, throw it out of bounds anything but throw a pick-6,” Salpointe coach Eric Rogers said. “You know what I mean? That just kills the momentum. We kick a field goal it’s a 6-3 ballgame and you know, 15, 16, 17, 18 year old kids are like, ‘We’re in this game. Alright, let’s go.’ It just keeps your psyche up. All of a sudden, you just saw a wind go right out of your sails.”

— Salpointe, which lost Treyson Bourguet to graduation, alternated starting quarterback Fredo Sotelo and backup Taylor Nagore the rest of the way. Basha’s defense put pressure on them all game. Salpointe finished with 75 yards passing while completing 8 of 18 passes with the three interceptions.

— Basha established control scoring on its first four offensive possessions of the half. Williams’ 26-yard run set up Buchanan’s 2-yard score with 10:40 left in the second quarter to put the Bears ahead 19-0.

— After recovering a fumble at the Salpointe 39, Williams converted a 12-yard pass to Darron Dodd on a fourth-and-10 play. He then completed a 17-yard pass to Buchanan before connecting with Mason Arhin on a 13-yard score with 8:06 left to increase the lead to 25-0.

“You can’t turn the ball over like that especially when you’re playing one of the top teams in the state,” Rogers said. “You cannot afford to do that. We talk every single day of winning the turnover battle. Well, it didn’t happen and this is what happens when you don’t win the turnover battle against one of the top teams in the state — you get your butt kicked.”

Salpointe’s Dailan Goodman leads a chant to the fans after the Lancers’ loss to Basha (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

— Buchanan’s 46-yard run on Basha’s next possession set up Williams’ 1-yard touchdown pass to Patrick Green to increase the lead to 32-0 with 3:55 left in the half. Buchanan finished with 81 yards on nine carries.

— After another interception thrown by Salpointe that was picked off by Miles Lockhart, Basha started possession at the Lancer 21. But this time, the Lancer defense stopped Basha at their 3-yard line. Armani Sheriff had a sack to end the threat and keep Salpointe to a 32-0 deficit heading into halftime.

— Basha solidified its win scoring on its first two possessions of the second half on Buchanan’s 7-yard run and Corey Chisley’s 66-yard run in which he broke free from three tackles.

— Bright spots for Salpointe included Nagore and Sotelo leading touchdown possessions in the second half and heralded junior defensive end Elijah Rushing having a sack in which he stripped the ball and was able to track down the ball 10 yards away from where the sack initiated.

“We just learned the mentality we need to bring when we play a good team,” said Rushing, who is being recruited by many Power 5 programs. “It builds our mentality because we know what we need to do coming up against these other 6A teams. It was a great opportunity for us to play a big 6A team like this. When we get to the others, we know what to expect now.”

— Rushing and Salpointe’s defensive line went up against Central Michigan commit Ryun Blum at center and Wisconsin commit James Durand at left tackle. Rushing was able to consistently get a good push off the line. On one play, Durand couldn’t contain Rushing and had to hold him to prevent a sack.

“I feel like I had some plays I could’ve made better, but I feel like I had a good game,” Rushing said. “Still, that doesn’t do anything for the team. It’s really just us all coming together and making it happen.”

— Williams completed 16 of 23 pass attempts for 161 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions and also rushed six times for 41 yards. He played less than three quarters, allowed to rest after Basha took a 46-7 lead with 3:09 left in the third quarter. He is hard for defenders to track down in the backfield because of elusiveness and is able to make good throws on the run. His ability to survey the field and make quick decisions was evidenced by him throwing to six different receivers. He mentioned Arizona’s entire coaching staff is contacting him, including head coach Jedd Fisch.

“They’re definitely up there because they really keep great contact and I love the relationship that we have,” Williams said.

— Salpointe is 1-2 overall heading into Friday’s game at Cienega (1-1). Both teams are coming off large defeats to Phoenix-area teams at home. The Bobcats lost 42-14 against Goodyear Millennium.

SALPOINTE (2-2, 0-0)

Lancers compete in the 6A East Valley. *Region game. Games are at 7 p.m.
DateOpponentW/LOvrReg
9/2@ ChaparralL, 23-20 OT0-10-0
9/9@ Boulder CreekW, 35-221-10-0
9/16BashaL, 46-141-20-0
9/23@ CienegaW, 37-132-20-0
10/7Mica Mountain
10/14@ Red Mountain*
10/21Williams Field*
10/28Tolleson*
11/4Mesa Mountain View*
11/10@ Queen Creek*

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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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