Saturday, Sept. 13, 2008 | 1 a.m.
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Defense wins championships.
But offense is a lot more fun to watch.
Fans from both sides had plenty to cheer about but it was the host Chaparral faithful that cheered last and loudest, as Isaiah Washington's 25-yard, broken-field run with two minutes to go lifted the Cowboys to a wild 35-28 victory over old rival Basic at Jack Mannion Stadium on Friday.
It was the only time Chaparral (1-2) led all evening as the teams traded touchdowns from beginning to end on an ideal night for high school football.
Chaparral couldn't stop the pass.
Basic couldn't stop the run.
So it rained touchdowns.
Chaparral scored the last two, erasing a 28-21 Basic lead in the fourth quarter.
"We were due," said Fernando Carmona, the Cowboys' coach. "Both teams fought hard and it got a little sloppy in the end but we made the plays we needed to."
Quarterback Breonta Griffin's 9-yard run with eight minutes, 41 seconds to play capped a 99-yard drive that made it 28-28 before Washington scored the decisive touchdown on a play the Wolves (2-1) appeared to have stopped.
Washington ran a sweep to the right. But when Basic did a nice job stringing out the play, he made an athletic move, cutting back to the left and outrunning the pursuit to the end zone pylon.
"He's one of those scat backs that gets (stopped for) losses here and there," Carmona said. "But every time he touches the ball he has a chance to break one."
After leading most of the night, the Wolves suddenly found themselves in rally mode. They couldn't do it, as three incompletions and a sack turned the ball over to the Cowboys, who ran out the clock.
Chaparral's alternating running back tandem of Washington and Pierre Jones ran circles around Basic. Washington finished with 144 yards on 23 carries while Jones added 88 on 18 and kept Washington, who plays linebacker on defense, relatively fresh.
"We haven't run the ball the first two games but that was our game plan all week," Carmona said of a no-frills running game that rolled up 333 yards with Washington and Jones combining for 232. "They're two good backs."
Although Chaparral played conservatively most of the night, two of its biggest plays showed lots of imagination.
The first, a double-reverse following a timeout just before halftime, resulted in a 57-yard touchdown run by speedy Joeal Hotchkins that enabled Chaparral to tie the game at 21-all.
The second was a pass, as Breonta Griffin hooked up with Jermal Turner for 62 yards on third-and long -- with Chaparral pinned deep on its 1-yard line -- to set the 99-yard, fourth-quarter scoring drive in motion.
Earlier, it was Robby Faiman, the Basic quarterback, who had come out firing. Faiman completed his first 10 passes, befuddling the Chaparral defense, which wasn't expecting an aerial assault.
"They had only thrown 24 passes the first two weeks," Carmona said. "But they had success early with it, so they stuck with it."
Basic went 75 yards in four plays the first time it touched the ball. Three were passes, accounting for all 75 yards.
But the Cowboys did a much better job defending the pass in the second half, limiting Faiman to four completions in 10 attempts for just 26 yards.
For the game, Faiman completed 14 of 21 passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns. He also scored himself, on a 16-yard run in the second quarter.
The finish might not have been so dramatic had Carl VanLandingham's 34-yard field goal attempt in the third quarter found the mark for Chaparral. The kick had plenty of distance but banged off the right upright and fluttered to the end zone turf as the game remained tied at 21.