Basic High’s Benito Gutierrez scored only two points Saturday, but his small contribution made all the difference.
Gutierrez dived into the end zone for a 2-point conversion early in the fourth quarter to give the fourth-ranked Wolves their first and only lead, and they hung on for a 22-21 home victory over Canyon Springs.
“Going into that play, I felt like we really needed it,” Gutierrez said. “I just figured, ‘Man I’ve got to punch this in,’ and my linemen did what they needed to do.”
The Wolves, who trailed 21-20 after scoring on a 2-yard pass from Vince Carducci to Blaze Galardy with 11:53 remaining in the fourth, originally opted to go for a game-tying extra point. But the Pioneers were flagged for encroachment, moving the ball closer to the goal line.
Basic coach Jeff Cahill said the decision to go for 2 was a no-brainer.
“It wasn’t hard at all,” he said. “I have total confidence in those guys. I knew we could get it in.”
Basic (3-0) was fortunate to convert the opportunity, as it blew several chances in the first half. Though the Wolves controlled the tempo, promising drives were stopped with penalties, a fumble, an interception and a missed field goal.
“We moved the ball in the first half,” Cahill said, “but interceptions and penalties were killers. But the kids came back in the second half and did outstanding.”
Canyon Springs (0-2) jumped to a 7-0 lead midway through the second quarter when Jamaal Martin connected with Isiah Charles on a 51-yard TD pass.
Basic answered with a 3-yard scoring strike from Carducci to Galardy with 2:21 left in the half. But the Pioneers took a 14-7 lead into the break, courtesy of a 26-yard TD pass from Martin to Chayson Lawson with 41 seconds remaining.
Basic opened the second half with a nine-play, 68-yard drive, tying it on a 1-yard run by Lorenzo Sampson.
But the Pioneers again battled back, going ahead 21-14 when Martin capped an 86-yard drive with a 10-yard TD run with 2:44 remaining in the third quarter.
Carducci completed 16 of 31 passes for two touchdowns to lead Basic. Galardy rushed six times for 57 yards, and Gutierrez had 34 yards on nine carries.
Martin completed 12 of 27 passes for two touchdowns to lead the Pioneers.