Published Friday, Oct. 15, 2010 | 11 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010 | 2:10 a.m.
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Las Vegas Sun reporters Case Keefer and Ray Brewer take a closer look at this week's slate of high school football games, including rivalry contests between Las Vegas-Rancho, Chaparral-Eldorado and Basic-Foothill. The fellas also discuss Liberty's slow starts, Gorman's domination and the lack of quality long snappers. They will also have their weekly picks.
Losing to a rival hurts enough.
Falling to one twice in the same year, including a season-ending defeat, feels much worse. It’s a feeling Foothill became all too familiar with over the last year after Basic beat it 42-20 in the second round of last year’s state playoffs.
The Falcons remembered all of the pain Friday night and exacted revenge in a 20-13 victory against the visiting Wolves.
“It definitely makes it feel more special,” said junior receiver Kyle Keplinger. “We went to school with these guys in middle school, elementary school and we know these guys. It’s a great rivalry to have.”
Foothill (7-0, 5-0) continued its dream season, while Basic (4-4) couldn’t crawl out of its recent nightmare.
With the score tied at 13 and four minutes remaining, Keplinger orchestrated the game-changing play. Keplinger was in as the upback in Foothill’s punt formation on fourth-and-four from the 46-yard line.
He noticed Basic only had 10 players on the field and checked out of the punt and into a fake. He received the snap and took off for an easy nine yards.
“He knew the down and distance,” Foothill coach Marty Redmond said. “He’s a football player and a very smart kid. He just took off and it was a big play for us.”
Basic attempted a fake punt of its own on fourth-and-10 its next possession, but the Foothill defense swarmed Matt Dembinski well short of the first down.
“We were expecting a fake,” Redmond said. “We didn’t think they were going to kick it back with that amount of time left.”
Foothill won more than the fake punt battle. The Falcons moved the ball much easier than the Wolves all night. Riggin threw for 279 yards on 32-for-45 passing with Keplinger, Gates and Mikie Charlton each catching at least seven passes.
But Foothill also had four turnovers that kept opportunistic Basic in the game. Senior Dominic Villas, who finished with four catches for 104 yards, and sophomore DeVonte Boyd, who had six catches for 59 yards, each had a receiving touchdown for the Wolves following a turnover.
“We were right there and we fought, they fought,” Basic coach Jeff Cahill said. “I thought we were two pretty even teams and they made one more play than we did.”
Other than a few big plays to Villas and Boyd, the Foothill defense was ferocious. Senior Keegan Buck led the charge with three sacks and an interception.
“He’s a freak for us,” Redmond said. “We expect a lot out of him and for him to make a lot of big plays, and he’s done it every single game.”
Basic dropped its third straight and needs to beat Del Sol and Green Valley in its final two games to make the playoffs. Foothill will play Liberty next week in a fight for the Southeast Division championship.
“Liberty has been waiting for us for a year now and they are a very good football team,” Redmond said. “They are a very big, very physical football team, so that will be crazy next week.”