Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012 | 2:05 a.m.
Upset over the outlandish scores posted around the valley last week, Las Vegas Sun sports reporter Ray Brewer loses his sanity on this week's podcast. Co-host Case Keefer tries to stay out of the way during his rant on defense, but has plenty to add on other topics — including impressive games from Arbor View and Bishop Gorman, "the hut drill" and the two highly-anticipated games in Henderson on Friday.
When the school bus driving the Green Valley High football team departed Basic’s Don Taylor Stadium on Friday night, you could easily hear the players celebrating their 31-27 victory in the annual Henderson Bowl rivalry game.
They were signing, “Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye” at the top of their lungs in celebration of their second straight victory in the rivalry, which gives Green Valley a 14-8 lead in the series.
The one-two punch of running back Gio Hernandez and quarterback Christian Lopez led the offense, helping the Gators score 15 unanswered points to close the game.
Hernandez had a 15-yard touchdown run at the end of the third quarter, and Lopez — the Gators’ dynamic sophomore quarterback — scored the game-winning touchdown on a 3-yard keeper in the fourth quarter.
Green Valley’s defense was solid all night, forcing Basic quarterback Jaylen Rose into 29 incomplete passes and limiting wide receiver standout Devonte Boyd to three receptions for 19 yards.
Green Valley held Basic scoreless in the fourth quarter, igniting a rivalry game celebration that continued to the bus ride home. The postgame party included the players racing to grab the Henderson Bowl trophy, plenty of photos with family and a strong motivational speech from coach Brian Castro.
Green Valley improves to 3-1 overall with the win, giving the coach confidence his team could be a force later in the season. The Gators certainly played that way Friday.
“The key was our defense,” Castro said. “That is a good football team over there. They score a lot of points. Our kids bought into what we were doing and executed the game play. I’m proud of them.”.
Boyd, who entered with about 490 receiving yards and nine touchdowns in three games, was double-teamed on seemingly every one of his routes. And, despite passing for nearly 1,000 yards this year, Rose had an off night in completing just 11 passes for 152 yards.
Basic entered averaging 55 points and nearly 500 yards of offense per game. All week, the Green Valley players heard how they’d have a hard time stopping the attack.
Friday, they proved everyone wrong in winning one of Nevada’s most significant rivalry games. The stands were packed on both sides of the field; fans who couldn’t get in watched from outside the fence lining the stadium, and there was a certain energy in the crowd not common for a September nonleague game. Also, several Green Valley fans wore "Beat Basic" shirts.
“This is the Henderson Bowl. I wanted it,” Hernandez said. “It is amazing being part of this, especially if you win. It is indescribable. It is so intense."
Hernandez had the most significant play of the game.
Basic (3-1) scored on its initial drive of the second half on a 9-yard touchdown reception from Boyd for a 21-10 lead with 10:05 to play in the third quarter.
But Hernandez returned the ensuing kickoff about 85 yards to the Basic 11-yard line and Lopez scored on a short touchdown run four plays later to trim the deficit.
“(Hernandez) is a good football player for us. He is a kid we need to get more involved,” Castro said.
While Hernandez and Lopez were moving the Green Valley offense, Basic junior Antraye Johnson was matching them touchdown for touchdown. Johnson had three touchdowns, including racing 54 yards untouched on a screen pass play midway through the third quarter to extend Basic’s lead to 27-16.
Green Valley’s offense was virtually flawless the remainder of the night. Not only did Basic not score, the Wolves had a hard time moving the ball. Fittingly, a Hernandez interception with seconds remaining sealed the victory.
“We knew we had to slow him down,” Castro said of defending Boyd. “We put two guys on him and we still thought he might get free. They just played their tail off tonight. We brought some pressure at the right time and made the right calls.”
Those right calls ended with the biggest win of the season. And one loud bus ride, too.
“It is an emotional game every year,” Castro said. “The kids love it. They get excited for it. They get our best game and we get their best game.”