Fans found two separate reasons why staying seated and watching the whole game would be the best bet. The first reason has nothing to do with the game itself. Rain came through about a half hour before kickoff, which left the benches wet, causing many people to sit in a puddle of water. Getting up and walking somewhere would be nothing less than humiliating, so most people got comfortable and stayed there a while. This would turn out to be a good choice.
Basha got the scoring started early in the second quarter when Kicker Scott Grode connected with a field goal after a long and methodical Basha drive was stalled at the Westwood 10 yard line. The field goal was from 27 yards out to give the Bears a 3-0 lead.
Westwood came storming back with a series of long runs by QB Brandon Large. However, after getting inside the Basha 40 yard line, Large fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Basha MLB Brian Rheault. A few plays later, Basha QB Troy Graham found RB Kenny Vella wide open in the left flat. Vella turned it into a big play as he scampered down the sideline 48 yards almost untouched to make the score 10-0 Basha with 4 minutes left in the 1st half.
Westwood encountered a serious case of déjà vu on their next possession. QB Brandon Large and RB Jeron Beaton executed the option to absolute perfection and left Basha players on their heels. Unfortunately, on a play that appeared to be a huge one for Westwood, Large dropped the ball in a seemingly unforced fashion and Basha recovered with 54 seconds left in the half. Coach McBurney and the Bears elected to sit on the ball and take a 10-0 halftime lead into the locker room.
FIRST HALF: Westwood showed they can move the ball on the Bears defense, but failed to make anything happen on Basha's side of the field. Too many penalties and miscues held Westwood back, or it could have been a different story leading into halftime. As for Basha, they were pretty inconsistent and showed signs of weakness as they tried to defend the option play.
The second half would be much different than the first half. Westwood came out firing on all cylinders, and everything (besides penalties) went their way. Brandon Large connected with all his receivers for big chunks of yardage the entire second half. No matter where on the field, Large was hitting his players directly in stride and for the most part his receivers were catching the ball and making something happen. It was very impressive to see. The Bears were completely on their heels and could definitely sense their 3-0 record was about to gain a blemish. Westwood scored 12 points on consecutive drives in the 4th quarter and took a 12-10 lead with 8 minutes left in the game.
Basha, almost in a desperate state, would answer the call. With just under 5 minutes left in the game, QB Troy Graham connected with a wide open WR Rashad Huggins for a 51 yard touchdown to put Basha ahead 17-12.
What transpired next had everyone in the stadium off the edge of their seats, wet pants and all. Westwood return man Calvin Washington returned the ball all the way up to the midfield to give Westwood excellent field position to start their last drive…But wait, an illegal block in the back pushed the ball all the way back to the Warrior 9 yard line and nullified the big return that would have given Westwood an excellent opportunity to try and win the game. After a series of short passes, on 4th down from their own 18 yard line, Brandon Large threw it to the right side of the field by the Warrior sideline but it was picked off by Rashad Huggins of Basha. He returned it back to the 3 yard line with under a minute to go. Basha Head Coach Tim McBurney elected to kneel on it, and Basha won the game 17-12.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was one of the better high school football games I have seen as far as suspense and costly penalties and everything else. The momentum switched about fifty times, and neither team seemed to want to win the game. Westwood has an enormous amount of speed and heart, and they played really hard and aggressive from the outset. Take away a couple penalties, and Westwood could have won this game. As for Basha, I noticed they have huge bodies up front on both the OL and DL. Basha controlled the line of scrimmage for most of the night on both sides. Westwood exploited the inability of the Basha D's to contain the option, and that definitely will be a concern later in the season if Basha plays another team that runs the option at a successful rate. I expect both of these teams to make a run in the playoffs, and it would be only fitting to see these two teams play again. The first meeting ever between these schools (on the varsity level) turned out to be a classic.