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Johnson redeemed in leading Wolves past Dragons for playoff spot

After watching Antraye Johnson fumble last week, Basic football coach Jeff Cahill said the sophomore was determined to redeem himself.

Johnson certainly did Thursday.

Johnson rushed for 198 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries, including a 1-yard score with 43.2 seconds left, to lead the Wolves to a 29-25 win at Del Sol.

The late-game heroics helped Basic (5-4, 3-3) earn its first win over Del Sol (4-5, 2-4) in program history and, more important, clinch the Southeast League’s fourth and final spot in the Sunrise Region playoffs.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence in (Johnson),” Cahill said. “He fumbled last week, and he wanted to atone for that. And he did. He had an all-around game, not just with the TDs. He had to play quarterback, running back, kick returner. He’s everything for us.”

Basic will visit Northeast League champion Canyon Springs (7-2, 7-0) in the first round of the playoffs Nov. 4.

Johnson and junior Jalen Rose combined to fill in admirably at quarterback in place of senior Eddie Vega, who was sidelined with a head injury sustained in last week’s loss to Foothill.

Johnson and Rose each passed for 45 yards, and Rose hit Devonte Boyd for a 2-point conversion following Johnson’s game-winning touchdown run.

Johnson’s dive over the pile on the final TD capped a nine-play, 80-yard drive spanning 4 minutes, 10 seconds. He had a pair of 13-yard runs on the drive.

“Antraye’s a special athlete, and he did it all for us tonight,” Cahill said. “But when Jalen stepped in and completed that 2-point conversion, he was amazing as well.”

Del Sol had one last chance with the ball at Basic’s 40-yard line with 8.5 seconds left, but Nathan Kirschbaum was sacked on fourth-and-23, and Basic knelt on the ball to end the game.

Chris Marshall scored a pair of Del Sol touchdowns on runs of 63 and 65 yards in the fourth quarter to help the Dragons rally from a 21-13 deficit, taking a 25-21 lead on the 65-yarder with 4:53 left.

Basic’s Lee Hardy rushed for 43 yards, including a 30-yard TD in the second quarter, and Mike Roberts added a 1-yard TD run in the third.

Marshall, a senior, paced Del Sol with 302 yards and two TDs on 20 carries.

Kirschbaum passed for 183 yards, connecting with Lael Perkins five times for 111 yards. Perkins had a 57-yard TD over the middle in the first quarter.

Dylan Lindemann made field goals of 37 and 49 yards for Del Sol, and Raheem Jones made two interceptions to lead the Dragons’ defense.

An emotional Cahill said he was “so proud” of his team’s historic comeback win.

“It’s huge, not only for the playoffs, but this is the first time Basic’s ever beaten Del Sol in varsity football,” he said. “That’s something the kids really wanted to hang their hats on. So it was big, and another great game.

“It seems like every time we play them, it comes down to the last second.”

Cahill said the Wolves are optimistic that Vega, the team’s regular starting quarterback and a team leader, can return next week.

“He’s looking like he is going to play, and it looks like he’s going to finish his senior year the way he should: on the field,” Cahill said.

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