Basic quarterback Vince Carducci had a huge second half on Friday night, rushing for 69 yards and passing for 107.
But the senior was on his back on the sideline with a left leg injury as his team finished the biggest drive of the night
And Carducci had all the confidence that his teammates would come through.
“I had a lot of confidence,” Carducci said. “We have backups nonstop. We have a lot of talent on this team. If somebody goes down, there’s somebody to step up.”
So two plays after Carducci left the field, senior running back Benito Gutierrez scored on a 4-yard run with 3:50 to play to break a 14-14 tie. Gutierrez, who was only starting due to injuries, added the 2-point conversion, and the sixth-ranked Wolves (2-0) came from behind to earn a 22-14 road win over No. 5 Durango (1-1).
“Everybody doubts Basic High School, if you haven’t noticed,” said Carducci, who rushed for a team-high 87 yards and passed for 199. “We’re here to play. We don’t give up. Basic’s in it to win it.”
The touchdown run was the third of the night for Gutierrez, who also had TD runs of 3 and 5 yards in the third quarter.
“He came in and picked it up for us and played great,” Basic coach Jeff Cahill said of Gutierrez. “He ran hard.”
Basic got the ball with 5:47 to play at its own 48. A pair of pass interference penalties helped the Wolves move the ball deep into Durango territory.
“We got a little lucky on that one,” Carducci said.
Basic faced a third-and-5 at the Durango 21 when Carducci came away with a key 14-yard run to move the ball to the Trailblazers 7. Carducci limped off after the play, giving way to Eddie Vega, who guided the last two plays of the game-winning drive.
Vega finished with 31 yards on four carries while spelling Carducci.
“Vince had a big second half, but he was cramping, so we had to bring in Eddie Vega,” Cahill said. “He’s our backup quarterback, and he had some huge runs for us — big first downs. We’re a total team here. We’ve got 55 guys, and they’re all contributors.”
Durango appeared to be driving for the go-ahead score late in the third quarter. The Trailblazers moved the ball to the Basic 15, keyed by a 43-yard screen pass from Chase Roberts to Julio Mora.
But Basic’s Dante Rogers came up with an interception in the back of the end zone to end Durango’s last good scoring opportunity.
“Dante’s one of our captains, one of our team leaders and one of the hardest-working kids we’ve got,” Cahill said. “We tell them all the time that hard work pays off, and he showed it.”
Durango took a 7-0 lead on the final play of the first quarter, when Donovan Smith took a snap in the Wildcat formation and raced 62 yards for a touchdown.
But Basic didn’t let Smith get loose again, and the Wolves limited Mora, a first team all-state selection last year, to 97 yards on 23 carries.
“We pride ourselves on our defense,” Cahill said. “They hit hard and they’re all over the ball. They made one mistake, and (Smith) is fast and he made us pay for it. But other than that, I thought we controlled the game.
“Mora’s a great, great running back, and I thought we did the best you can do against the kid.”