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August 1, 2014

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Basic’s magical season continues with trip to state semifinals

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Mona Shield Payne / Special to the Sun

Basic running back Quinn Richardson celebrates after the Wolves recovered a kickoff fumble against Foothill during the Sunrise Region semifinal game Friday night at Basic. The Wolves were victorious over the Falcons 42-20.

Basic vs. Foothill

Basic assistant coach Dan Cahill celebrates with his team after a kickoff fumble recovery during the Sunrise Region semifinal game Friday night at Basic.  The Wolves were victorious over the Falcons 42-20. Launch slideshow »

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The Basic High football team isn’t supposed to be playing this late in the fall.

This is when powers like Bishop Gorman, Palo Verde and Las Vegas High typically battle for gridiron bragging rights.

But this is not your typical Basic squad. And this is definitely not a typical season for the Wolves.

Basic’s defense forced four turnovers in the third quarter Friday night against visiting Foothill and Quinn Richardson had a pair of touchdown runs to lead the Wolves to a 42-20 victory in the Sunrise Regional semifinals.

The win puts the Wolves (11-1) in the Sunrise Regional finals next Saturday against Del Sol. This fall, the finals also serve as the state semifinals, meaning the Wolves are two wins away from capturing their first state title since 1960.

It’s been a memorable season — one some players admit has come as a pleasant surprise.

“I’m surprised, too. I’m not going to lie,” senior linebacker Byron Stewart said.

Basic’s defense, usually a weakness, has keyed the effort all season. Friday was no different.

Basic led 22-0 at halftime behind two Richardson 1-yard touchdown runs and put the game out of reach by scoring the initial two touchdowns of the second half.

The Wolves limited Foothill to six plays in the third quarter — three of which were turnovers. The other turnover came when Foothill fumbled a kickoff.

Basic’s Tyler Dobbins threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Kelly Armistead following the first third-quarter turnover, and added a 7-yard scoring strike to Travis Tatiano following another Foothill miscue.

The dominating quarter gave the Wolves a comfortable 35-0 lead and punched their ticket to the next round.

It was the first time Basic has won two playoff games in one season since 1989, a streak that included 10 years without a playoff appearance and 12 without a postseason win.

“When the season started it (the state semifinals) was definitely a goal,” Basic coach Jeff Cahill said. “I knew we had a good team coming back, but I didn’t know if it was good enough to get us this far.”

Foothill (6-6) scored two touchdowns within in the span of a minute early in the fourth quarter to cut its deficit to 35-13. Quarterback Parker Riggin threw touchdown passes of 6 and 17 yards to Tyrel Garner and the Falcons only trailed by 23 points with 8:42 to play.

Still, they couldn’t overcome the string of third-quarter turnovers.

“We just turned the ball over too much,” Foothill coach Marty Redmond said. “Basic’s defense did a good job. You have to give them credit.”

Basic’sEdward Villaros scored on a 22-yard run with 6:45 left to put the game out of reach.

Now, it’s on to next week’s showdown with Del Sol, a foe the Wolves have lost to three times in the last two years.

Del Sol knocked Basic out of the playoffs last year with its solid running attack and physical style of play — the Dragons’ Derek Eamon rushed for 412 yards and five touchdowns in the postseason win.

Basic, however, has closed the gap this fall. Its lone loss was a 21-19 setback to Del Sol on Oct. 2, but the Wolves held the Dragons scoreless in the second half and had several chances to win.

“It’s just like coach said before the game,” said Dominic Villas, Basic’s junior running back who had a 47-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. “If we come out, execute and do our jobs, we’ll be fine. … In our hearts, we all knew we’d be here.”

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