Basha Breakdown: Football, Track And Unsung Heroes

The Basha Bears head into the spring with one goal for 2023 – to prove that last year’s Open Division State Championship win was no accident. Holding the state’s most prestigious high school football title should have the Bears feeling one step ahead heading into 2023 but for head coach Chris McDonald it has him feeling a touch behind. 


Spring Cleaning And Fall Schedule

“I feel a bit behind. Other schools got going much quicker. It was a long season, the first time that we’ve been in a position that we’re playing, heck, up until a couple of weeks before Christmas. You know some programs get to start their off-season a little sooner than us because of the extended season.”

McDonald said this time of year there isn’t a whole lot of football happening. Outside of participating in other sports and speed and strength development, anyone playing football is doing it with their Club 7’s team. 

On March 18, Basha released their schedule for the 2023 season featuring an Open Division Championship rematch at Saguaro in week 3. McDonald says he was hoping for one game against an out-of-state opponent but things didn’t shake out that way. 

Basha has an incredibly competitive schedule with games against four teams that made the open and a week two game against the 6A state champions. 

“I think Highland is going to be one of the surprise teams in the state. They’re a legitimate open contender.”

Spring Football begins on May 1. 


Football + Track = Perfect Recipe

The focus for Basha football this time of year is weight room performance and track participation. 

“The majority of our kids, I make them run track if they’re not participating in another spring sport. They’re working so hard and they’re really going to see the benefits on the football field. Effectively, their times are getting better in the sprints and maybe for some of them it’s not good enough where they’ll be competing for the region title but they’re going to see it in spring ball or in 7’s.”

McDonald was a multi-sport athlete himself in high school, playing football in the fall and baseball in the spring. It wasn’t until McDonald was in college that he decided to take up track for one season. 

“I’ll be honest with you Claudia, it was probably the best thing I ever did. I worked really hard and I was football fast and I wasn’t track-fast but that’s the message I try to get to these kids. Football speed and track speed is different and it’s ok to go out there and get dragged by a track athlete. If you just continue to focus on improving it’ll really pay off when you start competing and now instead of being a step ahead of that DB if you’re a receiver, you’re now two to three steps ahead of that guy.”


Unsung Heroes

It wouldn’t be a true “Recruiting Notebook” without listing off some of the Basha Bears to look out for in the 2023 season. If you follow high school football in Arizona, you know some of the “big names” on the Basha Bears roster but there are some guys Chris McDonald says will inevitably be on everyone’s radar. 


Javery Mayberry, 2024 – Tight End

“I think he’s going to be our most heavily recruited athlete this spring. He’s going to blow up. If you put him on ASU’s roster right now and you put him on the bus, you wouldn’t think twice that he’s not a D1 football player, he already looks like a college kid.”

The 6-foot-5, 230-pound tight end transferred from Eastmark last season. Mayberry suffered a season-ending shoulder injury at the start of his sophomore season at Eastmark. After transferring he was then required to sit out the first five games at Basha. Javery only appeared in the final six games of the season. In that stretch, he posted 141 receiving yards with two touchdowns. 

“In the spring people are going to see how athletic he is, how physical he is, his point of attack and I think with Bear Tenney moving to Texas I think it’s not even a question who the best TE in the state now is.” 

Javery’s most recent offer came from the University of Connecticut on Feb. 21. 


Brody Jones, 2024 – Defensive End

Last season the 6-foot-5, 225-pound defensive end started in every single game for the Bears but this off-season he’s focused on putting on weight and improving his leadership skills. Brody had 18 solo tackles, 82 total tackles, 9 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. 


Jack Bleier, 2024 – DE/LB/TE

This season Jack will be returning to his natural position as a linebacker after playing primarily as a defensive end last year. Last season he was instrumental to the Bears defense and earned all-region defensive end for the 2022 season. 

“We just got him on the field because he’s such a heck of a football player. But really he’s a middle linebacker.”

Jack’s most recent offer came from Campbell on Feb. 21. 


Jamison “Juice” Stamps, 2024 – Cornerback

Jamison got his start at cornerback in the second half of the 2022 season and was an immediate-impact player. Most notably, he made a key pass breakup on Saguaro’s sideline in the Open Division State Championship game in the fourth quarter. 

“He was able to allow us to move Cole to safety because we knew that Jamison was really good and was performing real well at corner. It was actually Cole’s decision.”


Cade Price, 2024 – Center

Cade Price will also move to his natural position this season after playing right guard for the Bears the past two season. In 2023, we’ll see Price move to center where Ryan Blum started last year.