Las Vegas Sun

November 23, 2017

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Henderson Bowl more than a typical high school game

Basic, Green Valley anxious to leave mark on longtime rivalry


Stephen R. Sylvanie / Special to the Sun

Basic High School varsity football players run past the Henderson Bowl trophy during practice on Monday afternoon.

Henderson Bowl

The Basic High varsity football squad practices as the Henderson Bowl trophy sits at the 50 yard-line on Monday afternoon. Launch slideshow »

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Prep Sports Now

Upsets abound as rivalry week approaches

Las Vegas Sun reporters Ray Brewer and Steve Silver break down last week's high school football contests and preview this Friday's upcoming games including the Henderson Bowl between Green Valley and Basic as well as the Cleat game Chaparral and Eldorado.

Basic High quarterback Tyler Dobbins has seemingly been waiting for this football game his entire life. His teammates, and the players at rival Green Valley High, surely have the same anticipation.

Dobbins, a lifelong Henderson resident, has been attending Basic games since he was in grade school. He’s long dreamed of the day when it would be his turn to lead his beloved Wolves onto the field for a meaningful game.

On Thursday night, the senior quarterback will get his chance.

Basic travels to Green Valley High for Henderson Bowl XIX, the annual rivalry game between Henderson’s two oldest high schools that has arguably become the state’s most significant rivalry.

It is a game that makes or breaks a season, especially for seniors like Dobbins who realize this is their last opportunity to have glory in the Henderson Bowl.

“This is one of those games I have been waiting to play all year,” Dobbins said. “You definitely don’t want to lose.”

Once dominated by Green Valley, which captured the bowl from 1994 to 1999, the rivalry has become virtually even in recent years. While Green Valley has won four of the last five meetings, none of the victories resembled the Gators’ 64-0 triumph in 1994 or other lopsided wins of the 1990s.

Basic was victorious 33-28 last year in a game that went back and forth, also winning the Southeast Division championship with the victory.

It was the first time Green Valley coach Matt Gerber was on the losing end of the bowl — two years as an assistant in the mid-90s and the last three years as the Gators’ head coach.

Gerber has been preaching to his players all week the importance of returning the bowl to Green Valley.

“The bowl is something we certainly plan on getting back,” Gerber said. “We have to come out and be ready for a physical contest. It’s going to be a hard-fought game. They have an extremely good program over there.”

Basic (5-1) has a better record than Green Valley this fall, but both sides know that when the ball is kicked off, those records will take a back seat to the emotions of the rivalry.

“I’m going to play my heart out and leave everything on the field,” Basic senior wide receiver Kelly Armistead said. “My class has never lost to Green Valley and this won’t be the first time.”

Green Valley (3-3) beat Coronado 27-13 last week in a rebound game after losing 58-0 at Bishop Gorman on Oct. 2. Now, they hope to continue the momentum against Basic.

“We had to have some self reflection after the Gorman debacle and asked the kids to dig deep,” Gerber said. “We challenged them. We’ve had some changes in philosophy and the kids have responded well. We knew this game (the Henderson Bowl) was looming.”

Green Valley, which leads the all-time series 12-6, has only lost in consecutive years once — in 2002 and 2003 — before winning four straight entering last year’s game.

“This is our biggest game of the year,” Green Valley senior quarterback Jordan Corbett said. “We are looking to get the bowl back.”

Basic coach Jeff Cahill remembers the Wolves’ 18-12 victory in 2002 with fondness. He calls the double overtime win one of his favorites memories of the rivalry.

But, in a rivalry with such history and emotion, the coach knows a new memory will likely be created this year.

“We weren’t very good that year and they had a huge line,” Cahill said of the 2002 contest. “But our kids had a lot of heart and never gave up.”

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected].

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