Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017 | 12:50 a.m.
Ray Brewer and Case Keefer recap all the action from rivalry week, and spend extra time looking ahead to a few of the evenly-matched games in week 9.
Foothill quarterback Koy Riggin exuded cool as he came forward in the pocket and uncorked a strike past the first-down marker to Dylan Mueller.
Mueller eluded a defender and found the end zone on the fourth-down play from the 26-yard line late in the fourth quarter Friday night at Basic, all but sealing a 29-21 victory for Foothill in the rivalry game. It also capped a 76-yard drive that a sophomore like Riggin can’t typically orchestrate so impeccably.
“We just expect that out of him,” Foothill coach Marty Redmond said. “He’s such a smart kid.”
Riggin extended Foothill’s possession earlier by scrambling for a game-high 47-yard rush. His poise guided the Falcons past a frustrating night that could have overwhelmed a team without a stabilizing force.
This year’s Battle for Boulder Highway often felt more like the Battering on Boulder Highway in favor of Foothill, though the scoreboard rarely reflected its dominance. The Falcons were only up 22-14 with less than two minutes to play before Riggin’s final of three touchdown passes, largely a byproduct of a pair of scores practically ripped out of their hands.
Senior Branson Neff appeared to return a blocked field goal 65 yards for a touchdown in the final play of the first half, but was ruled out inside the 1-yard line with time expired. On the third play of the second half, the Falcons executed an 80-yard reverse pass touchdown from Mueller to Tanner Lester.
Almost the entire team was celebrating before realizing there was a flag for an ineligible man down field.
“That’s a big thing to overcome but I thought our kids hung in there, did a good job,” Redmond said. “I always felt like we were in control.”
That was largely because Riggin, who finished with 207 yards on 15-for-27 passing, out-dueled Basic sophomore quarterback Paul Myro, who put up 170 yards on 18-for-30 passing but almost all of that production came in the fourth quarter. In the first three quarters, nearly half of Basic’s yards came on a single play — a 51-yard touchdown pass from senior Zach Grismanauskas to junior Steven Justice.
Myro rarely had time to operate as Foothill turned a 9-0 halftime lead into a 22-7 advantage going into the fourth quarter. Foothill senior Mario Rodriguez logged two sacks on Myro, while senior Xavier Walker provided regular pressure.
Riggin was more unbothered, as seen with touchdown passes to senior Isaac Oliva, who had 186 total yards, and junior Braeden Wilson, who led the Falcons with five receptions.
“Our offensive line did a good job tonight,” Redmond said. “I thought they dominated the game, and that was the big difference.”
Redmond could have opted for a field goal try when Basic forced the fourth-and-4 situation late in the game. But trusting Riggin to make the right read, he never seriously considered it.
Riggin knew the weight of the moment and felt that the Falcons needed a touchdown, a hunch later proven correct when Myro marched the Wolves down the field in a minute before finding junior Dorian McAllister for a touchdown. Foothill recovered the ensuing onside kick to claim victory in the Battle for Boulder Highway for the first time in three years.
“We knew Basic would never go away,” Riggin said. “That’s why it was so important. We just took what they gave us, my receiver made a great play and the offensive line did their job.”