Las Vegas Sun

September 24, 2017

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prep football:

Henderson Bowl rivalry game will have a different feel

Basic needs to beat Green Valley, get help from Del Sol to reach playoffs


Mona Shield Payne / Special to the Sun

The Basic High football team celebrates its victory against Green Valley in the annual Henderson Bowl game in 2009.

Vintage Henderson Bowl photos

Basic High assistant football coach Dan Cahill walks around the practice field Monday with a stuff animal gator leashed to his ankle. Cahill brings out the toy each year during practices leading up to Henderson Bowl.

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Playoff picture becoming more clear

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The annual Henderson Bowl high school football game between Basic and Green Valley will have a different feel to it Thursday night.

Basic could increase its winning streak to a series-best three games for the first time in the 20 years of the rivalry, but its players could still go home disappointed.

Beating Green Valley, you see, will only be half the battle for the Wolves. They also need Del Sol to take care of Silverado to advance to next week’s playoffs.

It’s a scenario that involves scoreboard watching, finger-crossing and a little luck.

“We’ve told the kids to worry about what they can control, and at this point that’s making sure the Henderson Bowl stays at Basic another year,” Basic coach Jeff Cahill said.

Even though Basic (4-5 overall, 1-4 Southeast) has won the last two games in the series, Green Valley still holds an all-time 12-7 lead, including winning six straight from 1994 to 1999.

Green Valley, win or lose, is playing its last game this fall. The Gators (3-6 overall, 1-4 Southeast) held halftime leads against Liberty and Del Sol but struggled in the fourth quarter in losing.

That puts extra significance on a game players need little motivation to get ready for. For several players, it will be their last time putting on the shoulder pads.

“It’s the legacy of Henderson high school. It’s what we wait all season to play for,” said Green Valley lineman Nate Thomas, a three-year varsity performer.

Green Valley will be without two of its top offensive players — running back Aaron Love and quarterback Paul McKay. Both were injured in the second half last week against Silverado.

Just don’t expect the Gators to roll over. This game, especially considering the Gators’ past defeats against Basic, is a contest the players need no motivation for.

Green Valley coach Matt Gerber has reminded his players all week of the importance on returning the bowl to its home — the trophy case at the west Henderson school.

“The last thing they want to be is the team that lost (the bowl) for a third year,” Gerber said. “They are well aware of that.”

Players like Thomas, who was born and raised in Henderson, have been in the stands for countless Henderson Bowl games during their childhood. Now, it’s time to take the field in front of family, friends and community members one last time.

“This game means everything to me in leaving my legacy at Green Valley before I go to college,” Thomas said.

The Henderson Bowl trophy has sat on a table at Basic’s practices this week, and assistant coach Dan Cahill walks around the field with a stuffed animal gator attached to his ankle.

Yes, this won’t be an ordinary game.

“They think they are better than us over there, so we have to show them what is up,” said Jake Wilson, Basic’s senior linebacker.

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