For a while, Valley quarterback Kerwynn Williams looked like Superman. But Basic defensive back Anthany Lessier proved to be his kryptonite.
Williams staked the underdog Vikings to a 21-7 first-half lead against the No. 6-ranked Wolves, making big play after big play.
But Lessier then had a pair of interceptions, one that he returned for a touchdown to tie the game, and the other that set up the go-ahead score, as Basic overcame Williams first-half onslaught and recorded a 34-21 victory in the first round of the Sunrise Division playoffs.
Basic (8-3) advances to host Del Sol in the Sunrise semifinal round on Friday.
Valley’s Williams ran for a score (56 yards) and threw for two more (for 54 and 29 yards) to put his team up 14 points less than three minutes into the second quarter. It appeared Basic had no answer for his speedy rushing or his long touchdown throws.
“Valley came out and did a nice job jumping on top of us,” Basic coach Jeff Cahill said. “But we have been down before in a couple of games, and I think it was good for us. Our kids don’t back down or panic, and we were able to come back and get it tied at halftime.”
Lessier said early in the game the Wolves’ defense underestimated Williams.
“I think we didn’t give (Williams) as much credit as we should have,” Lessier said. “But then we took him more serious and we started changing stuff constantly on defense. When we got to a point we were stopping him, we stayed with it.”
Lessier helped turn the game around.
Valley was leading 21-14 in the second quarter and Williams drove Valley to the Basic 38. But Lessier stepped in front of Williams’ pass at the Basic 25 and took the interception 75 yards to the end zone to tie the game 21-21.
“Coach just said ‘stay in your zone.’ I was just waiting there and (Williams) didn’t see me. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time,” Lessier said. “It changed the game around.”
Early in the fourth quarter, Lessier picked off a Williams pass at the Valley 25. That set up Martell Walker’s 1-yard TD run for the go-ahead score four plays later.
Lessier then iced the game on Basic’s next possession, as his 19-yard TD run capped a five-play, 88-yard drive.
“This is the first time I have been to the playoffs, so I am very excited,” Lessier said. “I kept saying to myself during the game, ‘I don’t want this to end. I don’t want this to be my last game.’”
Robby Faiman rushed for 110 yards on 12 carries and threw for 170 yards and a score for Basic, and Walker and a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs for the Wolves.
Williams finished with 16 carries for 170 yards and also threw for 95 yards for the Vikings (5-6).
“We knew if we could get some pressure on their quarterback, we may get some big plays on defense,” Cahill said. “When we were able to keep him in the pocket and get some pressure up the middle was when we were able to get some big plays.”
As for facing Del Sol in the next round, Cahill said there will be few surprises.
“We just played Del Sol a few weeks ago, so we know what we have to do: stop their running game,” Cahill said. “The most important thing is to execute what we do. We have to play our best. If that is not good enough, we can live with that.”