Hammer, bell, bowl, bulls, roses and more. Ray Brewer and Case Keefer discus the numerous rivalry games taking place across the valley in this week's slate of high school football games.
Green Valley High football players were taking a picture with the Henderson Bowl trophy Friday night following the Gators' 35-21 win against visiting Basic in the annual rivalry game.
When the trophy made its way to Green Valley senior defensive lineman Branden Lopez, he examined it with a curious stare.
“This is the first time I’ve seen it,” Lopez said.
The rivalry is nearly 30 years old — starting when Green Valley in 1991 became Henderson’s second high school — and the trophy has been part of many celebratory photos. For many at both schools, a win on this evening ranks at the top of their high school achievements.
“Great team win for our guys,” Green Valley coach Brian Castro said. “(Basic) has gotten us the last couple of years and they are a good football team. Like normal, it came down to the end and we were fortunate to come out on top.”
While Bowers’ run gave Green Valley a late double-digit lead, it was another long touchdown run that arguably gave them the victory. Green Valley only trailed once — for about 10 seconds.
Basic scored the game’s initial touchdown late in the first quarter, but Antoin Kealoha returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for the equalizer. The run, Kealoha’s first career kickoff return, quickly swung the momentum to Green Valley’s favor.
“Running down the sideline, I could hear the crowd cheering,” Kealoha said. “It felt good.”
Julian Hulse had more than 100 rushing yards and two first-half touchdowns for Green Valley in helping it build a 21-7 advantage. But Basic scored two touchdowns just 33 seconds apart before halftime, including Zack Grismanauskas' nifty touchdown reception from Paul Myro, to even the game at 21.
Despite blowing the lead, Green Valley didn’t panic.
“We weren’t down on ourselves. We were mad that it ended up being so close,” Kealoha said. “(In the second half) we executed like we should have been the whole game.”
A.J. Barilla and Braxton Harms connected for the would-be winning points with a 59-yard touchdown in the third quarter, helping the Gators improve to 6-1 overall.
The rest of the half belonged to the Green Valley defense, which limited Basic to about 70 rushing yards on the night.