Foothill relied on its short passing game most of the night on Friday against Basic.
But Falcons quarterback Parker Riggin found the perfect time to complete a long pass.
Riggin hooked up with wide receiver Darius Gates on a 37-yard touchdown pass with 3:10 to play to break a 13-13 tie and give fifth-ranked Foothill a 20-13 home victory over the 10th-ranked Wolves in a Southeast League game.
“We’d been throwing underneath stuff all night, and we were hoping that if we could protect that we’d catch them on that little pump play,” Foothill coach Martin Redmond said. “We got that kid to bite a little bit.”
Riggin used a pump fake to help Gates get separation from his defender and then hit him down the left sideline for the go-ahead score.
“They were biting on stuff all night,” Riggin said. “Once we got them to go underneath a little bit, we were able to hit a big play over the top. Darius made a great play, and the linemen did a great job blocking for us.”
Riggin had completed 29 passes before hitting Gates for the score, but just one had been or more than 16 yards.
“They were going to give us the short stuff, so we were going to take what they gave us, and that’s what we did,” Riggin said.
Foothill (8-0, 4-0) controlled the ball most of the night but struggled with turnovers. The Falcons ran 20 more plays than Basic (4-4, 1-3) and outgained the Wolves 319-180 in yards of offense. But Foothill lost a pair of fumbles, and Riggin was intercepted twice.
“I thought we had some good drives going; we just couldn’t hang onto the ball,” Redmond said. “It’s tough to put points on the board when you’re turning the ball over as many times as we did tonight. We had a case of the fumbles.”
Foothill pinned Basic deep in Wolves territory and forced a punt with just more than a minute to go in the first half. Kyle Keplinger returned the punt 27 yards to the Basic 14.
Six plays later, Riggin lobbed a 2-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mikie Charlton, and Kevin Camacho’s extra point gave the Falcons a 13-6 lead at the half.
Basic tied the score on its first possession of the fourth quarter, driving 55 yards in five plays capped by a 24-yard touchdown pass from Vince Carducci to wide receiver DeVonte Boyd with 8:14 to go.
Carducci completed just 12 of 32 passes but had a pair of touchdown tosses. He connected with wide receiver Dominic Villas for a 43-yard touchdown strike in the second quarter.
Foothill limited Basic to negative-3 yards rushing.
“Our defense played really well,” Redmond said. “We had two busts in coverage, and that was it. Otherwise we didn’t give them a whole lot.
“I’m extremely proud of how our defense played tonight, and our kids are just gritty. In the end, they pulled it out.”
Foothill marched down the field on the game’s opening drive, going 65 yards on 12 plays capped by a 12-yard TD run by Miles Killebrew.
Riggin was 6-for-6 for 51 yards on the drive, which took 7 minutes, 21 seconds.
Riggin completed all 10 of his first-quarter passes but tossed a pair of second-quarter interceptions.
For the night, he completed 31 of 45 passes for 262 yards. Gates had eight catches for 86 yards, and Charlton (60 yards) and Keplinger (56 yards) each had seven catches.
Strong safety Keegan Buck had 2½ sacks and intercepted a shovel pass to lead Foothill’s defense. Gates also had an interception, and free safety Taylor Morris recovered a fumble to set up the go-ahead drive.
“Eight-and-oh is a great feeling,” Riggin said. “And obviously winning this rivalry game is a big one. They’re a really great team, but our team hung in there.”