The only sound audible 30 minutes before kickoff of Basic’s home football game against Coronado Friday night was coaches instructing players through warm-ups.
The typically festive environment at Don Taylor Stadium was nowhere to be found. These were two teams, and schools, still deeply in mourning from being directly affected by Sunday’s mass shooting.
Other than a drum line performance to walk the Wolves out to the field, the silence lingered until Basic’s band played the national anthem. Following the song, the Southeast division rivals met at midfield for another moment of silence and prayer to memorialize victims Charleston Hartfield, Quinton Robbins and Cameron Robinson.
Robinson graduated from Basic and worked for the city of Las Vegas. Hartfield was a fixture in the Henderson football community as a youth coach and his son, Ayzayah Hartfield, is a sophomore on the Cougars’ roster. Robbins was a mainstay in Basic’s athletic department, including serving as an assistant basketball coach.
“All these kids knew (Robbins), all these kids loved him,” Basic coach Jeff Cahill said. “He was a great kid.”
“From the Henderson Cowboys, Coach Charles had so much impact,” Basic senior Jordan Gallegos said. “He had about half the team over here, half the team over there and we all know each other so that’s why we came together because we just had to come out here and show support for him.”
The programs traded stickers, as Coronado wore a badge decal to commemorate Charleston Hartfield, who served as a local police officer for 11 years, while Basic donned a Q, the nickname friends and athletes used for Robbins. Coronado’s sideline was full of fellow officers supporting Ayzayah Hartfield during the ceremony.
The concession stands’ proceeds were also earmarked for other victims with Basic High ties, and word spread of at least one person buying a $100 hot dog.
“The community here is awesome,” Cahill said. “We’ve still got guys coming back from the '70s, '80s, '90s, '60s. We put a thing up on Facebook hoping to get traffic here and they came through. That’s why we love it here.”
Football felt secondary for much of the night, but the Wolves gave their generations of fans plenty to cheer for in a 45-22 victory. They may have even witnessed a breakout performance as sophomore quarterback Paul Myro was nearly perfect in throwing for 213 yards and two touchdowns on 15-for-17 passing.
Gallegos caught a team-high four of those passes including one for a touchdown, and also scored on an interception return and a fumble recovery. Also led by junior running back Dorian McAllister, who had over 200 total yards including a 60-yard hook-and-ladder, Basic was up 35-10 by halftime.
“It was a little different at the beginning of the game,” Cahill said. “No one was hyped up. But I think once we got started, we were OK.”
In addition to starting at linebacker on defense, Ayzayah Hartfield had eight carries for the Cougars in the second half. He wound up with negative yardage, but only because he recovered an errant snap 20 yards behind the line of scrimmage to prevent what would have otherwise been an easy Basic score.
Cahill said he was inspired by Ayzayah Hartfield’s resolve and convinced that his father would have wanted him to play.
“It’s amazing courage to be able to go through that and still to play,” Gallegos said. “I know he was close to his father, but I’m so glad he was able to come out here and play with us. I’m going to go hug him right now, give him a prayer and tell him I was thankful to play with him again.”
Cahill coordinated the ceremony, considering it crucial to show support for both ailing communities.
“We wanted to make sure it was something special,” Cahill said.