Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Bears step up after star hurt

The ball is stripped from Tucson High wide receiver Chris Moon by Basha linebacker Kenny Villa (left) and defensive back Nick Craine (right).

The ball is stripped from Tucson High wide receiver Chris Moon by Basha linebacker Kenny Villa (left) and defensive back Nick Craine (right).

Chandler’s Basha High School ran host Tucson High into submission early.

The Bears scored three rushing touchdowns in the first half and led 31-0 at the half before settling for a 45-0 defeat of the Badgers in both teams’ season opener.

Tucson High was playing its first game on its new artificial-turf field.

“It was a tough first game. Basha is always going to be prepared,” first-year Tucson High coach Vincent Smith said.

Basha’s fine stable of running backs bruised the Badgers for five touchdowns and 322 yards on the ground.

The Bears did all that rushing damage despite playing most of the game without their starting running back, Will Ewing. The senior left the game in the first quarter after only two carries because of an arm injury.

“He tripodded on this turf, and his arm kind of buckled on him,” Basha coach Tim McBurney. “We hope it is not anything serious.”

Senior halfback Michael Malone stepped in for Ewing and sparked the running attack for the visitors. He slashed for 65 yards on 10 attempts and scored on a 1-yard run early in the second quarter.

Malone is the son of former Eloy Santa Cruz High and Arizona State University running back standout Benny Malone. The elder Malone also starred in the National Football League as a halfback with the Miami Dolphins.

“He (Michael) is a great addition. He has a great attitude,” McBurney said.

Malone was one of several Bears who made the most of additional carries. Dusty Rush led all rushers with 96 yards on only seven totes. Senior halfback Matt Ballenegro got Basha on the scoreboard when he slipped into the end zone on a 1-yard run at the 7:48 mark of the first quarter.

His run capped the Bears’ offensive drive of the game. Ballenegro also scored on a 5-yard pass in the first period and on a 1-yard plunge in the third.

Tucson High was crippled by three interceptions. Marc Damon, the Badgers’ starting quarterback, tossed one. Gabriel Orta, who took over for Damon early in the third quarter, threw two on a night when the Badgers were forced to throw often. Orta did bring some life to the Badgers’ offense with his arm. He connected on 7 of 10 passes for 117 yards.

“Gabriel came in and did some good things for us,” Smith said.
Tucson High Basha Football

Tucson High Basha Football

Tucson High Football Team gets shut out by the Basha Bears, 45-0, Friday, August 25, 2006, at Tucson High.

Producer: Renee Bracamonte

Slide 1 of 11 [Next | Previous].
The Tucson High Marching Band plays as the game against Basha begins.
Source: RENEE BRACAMONTE/Tucson Citizen

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