When the Desert Vista Thunder (0-1) travel to match-up with the Basha Bears (1-1) Friday night on Yurview Arizona at 7:00 pm, the game will feature two name brand teams with no nonsense head coaches.
Basha is led by Rich Wellbrock who is in his first year with the Bears program. Wellbrock spent the previous 7 seasons at Desert Edge where he had great success, including a state championship in 2015. Basha made the playoffs last year losing in the first round to eventual state champion Chandler, but finished the season with a 3-8 record. Wellbrock welcomes the challenge of getting the program back to their winning ways, but it won’t be easy in the Premier Region which also features Brophy, Chandler, Hamilton, and Perry.
Dan Hinds is back for his 16th season at Desert Vista, and is coming off a 2016 campaign that saw the Thunder finish with a 7-5 record and another postseason berth where they were knocked out in the quarterfinals by Chandler as well. Hinds took Desert Vista to the mountain top in 2011, winning the state championship when the Thunder beat the Brophy Broncos. Hinds is hoping for the chance to clutch the gold ball once again.
The fact that Garrett is back and playing at full speed is a testament to his commitment and love for the game. Last year on September 23rd, on the second play of the game against Dobson, Chavez’s season came to an abrupt end.
“They ran a sweep and I got blocked and all of a sudden I heard a snap in my leg. I immediately went down and as I looked down I could see my leg, it didn’t look right and it didn’t feel right at all. So the trainers came out and they asked what was wrong I told them I broke my leg” Chavez said. “Immediately they called an ambulance and I was carted off the field and that was the moment when I knew this was real. I went into emergency surgery at 1:00 AM that night.”
Stagg and other teammates went to the hospital the following morning to check on Chavez. “None of us could believe that he broke his femur just because of the way he reacted. He was never in the slumps and he was disappointed that he couldn’t play, but he held his head high.”
A month after the surgery, Chavez began a grueling physical therapy program. “That was probably the hardest training I’ve done because it was something I’ve never done before, but my motivation was to just come back stronger and play football again.”
— Youth Thunder (@SEVThunder) August 23, 2017
Incredibly, the three year varsity performer made it back to the field for spring practices at the end of April. He was two months ahead of schedule. Now, Chavez is making his presence felt during his senior season. “The fact that he can go through all of that himself and come back right away, and be the same player that he was, if not better, and help other people on the team, it’s remarkable” said Stagg. Hinds adds, “It makes you feel real proud for that kid. It’s just an honor to coach a kid like Garrett Chavez.”
For Chavez, he now has the opportunity to finish his high school career the way he always envisioned and put the injury behind him. “I just want to go out there and play my game again. I don’t want it to affect me. I don’t want it to be in the back of my head because that’s gone. That’s over with. I overcame that and I also want to use that as motivation to do my best, and play my best. Not only for me, but for the team and for us to have a successful, fun year.”