Defensive stand sends Basic into Sunrise semifinals

With less than six minutes left in the fourth quarter of Friday’s Sunrise Region playoff game at Basic, Desert Pines drove the ball to the Wolves 7-yard line and was poised to score the tying touchdown.
Thanks to a penalty, the Jaguars ran seven plays inside the seven. Luckily, Basic’s defense held all seven of them.
And after the seventh play — a Desert Pines’ pass that sailed over the intended receiver and out of the end zone with 4:15 left — the Wolves secured a 24-17 playoff victory.
“It was just a great job by our defensive line and linebackers of just stepping up and making play after play after play,” Basic coach Jeff Cahill said. “Our defense never quit. They just did what they had to do and that won us the game.”
The victory gives the Wolves (10-1) another home playoff game, as they will host Foothill in a Sunrise semifinal game next Friday at 7 p.m.
Basic not only overcame the Jaguars’ late rally, but a sluggish first half, which Cahill said has become the norm this season.
“It’s been a disturbing pattern for us,” Cahill said. “In the first half we aren’t quite where we should be. But one great thing about this team is we have had these games that come down to the wire. So our kids don’t panic when something goes wrong.”
Quarterback Tyler Dobbins, who connected on 11 of 23 passes for 177 yards and a touchdown, led the Wolves’ resurgence on offense in the second half.
Dobbins hit fullback Quinn Richardson with a 15-yard strike in the middle of the end zone to give Basic its first lead, 17-10 with 4:06 left in the third quarter.
“It’s a new play,” Dobbins said. “That play is great. It worked every time in practice. It went for a touchdown every time.”
The pass capped an 11-play, 80-yard drive that put the Wolves on the inside track to the win.
On the Wolves next drive, Dobbins connected on a 37-yard pass to Kelly Armistead on a key third-and-nine play that put Basic on the Jaguar 2. Two plays later Richardson bulldozed his way into the endzone to give his team a 24-10 advantage.
“I just saw Kelly break across the middle wide open,” said Dobbins of the big pass play. “He just caught it, pulled it down and broke one. Honestly, I didn’t know Kelly could do that. But they (Desert Pines) played us really well. They gave us a scare.”
Derrick Shaw put Desert Pines back in the game quickly, breaking a 66-yard run on the first play of the ensuing drive, then bursting into the end zone on a 7-yard run to trim the lead to 24-17.
Shaw, who finished with 146 yards on 20 carries, gave the Jaguars (6-5) the early 7-0 lead in the second quarter on a 15-yard TD run.
But Basic’s Dominic Villas scooped up the ensuing kick off after several bounces and zipped 75 yards to bring the Wolves back even and nearly erase the Jaguars’ momentum.
“Dominic saved us in the first half with that kickoff return,” Cahill said. “It really got us going.”
“That’s the touchdown that got away from us. That will haunt us,” Desert Pines coach Paul Bennett said. “We knew it was going to be a battle. I’m proud of my kids. They played well. They played hard. They didn’t want to give up the season. But it is what it is.”
The Jaguars played without starting quarterback Dalton Leilua, who suffered a concussion against Las Vegas two weeks ago.
“You never feel comfortable without your No. 1 gun slinger,” Bennett said. “Believe me, I wanted to go with him, but I wasn’t going to chance it. He just wasn’t right. The kids means more to me than winning a playoff game.”
Trey Robello played a solid game at quarterback for the Jaguars, passing for 94 yards.
“Desert Pines played a hell of a game,” Cahill said. “I know they didn’t have their quarterback, which was tough for them, and they played their hearts out. But our kids didn’t panic. They stay the course and keep playing.”

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