Friday, Oct. 29, 2010 | 1:21 a.m.
The Basic High football team beat its biggest rival Thursday in the last game of the season.
The Wolves received a trophy for the victory, with their players racing around the stadium in joy to celebrate the win. They even stayed on the field afterward taking pictures.
Yet, there were plenty of tears of disappointment. Basic’s season, you see, also ended Thursday.
The Wolves rallied from a double-digit, second-half deficit to beat visiting Green Valley 32-31 in Henderson Bowl XX, but when Silverado defeated Del Sol in another Southeast Division game, the Wolves were eliminated from playoff contention.
Last year, Basic lost to Del Sol in the state semifinals by one point. In 2008, the Wolves fell to Del Sol in the Sunrise Regional semifinals.
This year, they won’t get the chance to play in the postseason, finishing 5-5 overall and 2-4 in the competitive Southeast Division.
“It looks like Del Sol knocked us out of the playoffs again,” Basic coach Jeff Cahill half-jokingly said.
It was a bittersweet victory.
The Wolves extended their winning streak to a series-best three games against Green Valley, but the celebration was short-lived once the players realized their season was over.
“This football team is a family. Those our my brothers. They mean the world to me,” said senior Matt Dembinski, who led the Wolves with a pair of touchdowns. “It’s awful not being able to play with them again.”
Benny Gutierrez’s lone carry turned out to be the game-winning touchdown, as he scored from 3 yards out with 6:43 to play. Kevin Aviles booted the extra point — in a game where both kickers struggled — for the one-point advantage.
The touchdown capped the scoring in a game both coaches called one of the best back-and-forth affairs in Henderson Bowl history.
“Both teams play their hearts out. That is what this game is about,” Green Valley coach Matt Gerber said.
Green Valley quarterback Jacob Olim threw touchdown passes of 58 and 20 yards to Andrew McGovern in the initial five minutes of the third quarter to break a 12-all halftime score and give Green Valley a 25-12 lead.
But Basic quickly answered with a pair of touchdowns to even the game at 25 by the end of the quarter, including Dembinski hauling in a 25-yard pass from Vince Carducci for the equalizing touchdown. Dembinksi also scored in the first quarter on a 77-yard interception return.
“We came out with a chip on our shoulders, and when they scored those touchdowns, the chip got even bigger,” Basic senior Dominic Villas said.
Both teams could have enjoyed a better fate this season.
Basic started the season with three straight wins but was upset by Coronado in its league opener and never recovered. Coronado took last in the Southeast and is 2-16 in league games the last three years.
Basic also lost close games against Liberty, Foothill and Del Sol, but the setback against Coronado was impossible to overcome.
“Ultimately, I knew that Coronado game would come back to haunt us, and it did,” Cahill said.
Green Valley led by double digits in the second half against Liberty, Del Sol and Basic but couldn’t hold on. The Gators finished 3-7 overall and 1-5 in league play.
“That is the encouraging thing,” Gerber said of the close defeats. “But it is also discouraging because you are so close.”
Rakeem Griffin had an 80-yard touchdown run for Green Valley in the first half in finishing with 132 yards on 17 carries. It was the second straight year Griffin scored on a long run in the Henderson Bowl.