LANCASTER — Lancaster’s Baptist football team got off to a dominating start in their first-round playoff game on Friday night.
Senior Daniel Flores scored on two rushing touchdowns on Lancaster Baptist’s first two possessions of the game against visiting Southlands Christian.
Daniel Flores then left the game with a leg injury in defence, but Lancaster Baptist managed to keep the momentum going and claim a 48-12 victory over Southlands Christian in an 8-man first round elimination match. section CIF-Southern Section 2 at Lancaster Baptist High School.
Lancaster Baptist (9-1) advances to the quarterfinals and will play the Cuyama Valley/Rolling Hills Prep winner.
“They kind of reset, quickly,” Lancaster Baptist coach John Alvarez said. “I know it’s hard to do. I told them ‘Hey, it’s a difficult thing when you have a break in the game with an injury.’
“Obviously we don’t know the extent of the injury, but they got their heads back in the game and focused and came out to finish that streak. After a while you pick up the pace and the atmosphere of the game. You really have to push that thought out of your mind and keep playing. I think the boys did a good job.
Flores scored on 19 and 12 yard touchdown passes to give Lancaster Baptist a 14-0 lead.
Flores struggled as he tackled a Southlands Christian pass, pounding the pitch in pain.
“I broke my leg,” Flores shouted to a choked crowd.
Flores appeared to hurt his lower left leg late in the first quarter. He was taken to hospital.
“It was a good win after the fall of Daniel Flores, our second running back,” said Lancaster Baptist senior Filipe De Paula Rosa. “We knew someone had to step in. Someone got up and we walked out with the W.
“When the injury happened, it kind of demoralized us. It didn’t do us any good. We had to let it go and get over the fact that our ball carrier was injured and move on.
Lancaster Baptist finished with 289 rushing yards on 35 combined carries from five different running backs.
Filipe De Paula Rosa finished with four touchdowns: two on the ground, one on a pass from junior quarterback Wyatt Langley and another on an interception return.
Filipe De Paula Rosa rushed for 89 yards on 10 carries.
The game after Daniel Flores’ injury, Langley got one of Lancaster Baptist’s six interceptions.
Although Lancaster Baptist’s next drive stalled, he scored on the next three possessions, taking a 35-6 halftime lead.
Lancaster Baptist had 281 total yards on offense in the first half, while holding Southlands Christian to 84 total yards and forcing three turnovers.
Langley, senior Troy Santos and junior Michael Averbeck each had a first-half interception.
Lancaster Baptist sophomore Samuel Flores scored on a 42-yard run early in the second quarter and senior Filipe De Paula Rosa scored on a 9-yard run midway through the second to give LB a 10-yard lead. 28-0.
“The most important thing was to go to the league game and get a ring,” Samuel Flores said of his older brother’s injury. “It hit me. It was very unexpected. I never really thought that I was going to have to impose myself like that. Like I said, the most important thing was to win a championship and get a ring. As soon as it happened I thought about the big picture and it was a bit adrift.
“Coaches spoke to me and told me to step in and do what I’m doing.”
Samuel Flores finished with 109 rushing yards on nine carries.
“I wanted Sammy to be able to touch and get a feel for the game,” Alvarez said. “He obviously played for us. It was not the first time he touched the ball. I wanted him to take some of that adrenaline and some of that emotion and put it to good use for him.
“We gave him the ball several times and he did a great job with it. We will need him more and more. Proud of Sammy for taking over from his brother. Danny is a great football player. He’s a better person. He’s a great teammate. Let’s hope it’s not as bad as we think. That’s what we’re praying for, sure.
Filipe De Paula Rosa caught a 38-yard touchdown pass from Langley with 33 seconds left in the first half to give Lancaster Baptist a 35-6 lead early in the second half.
Southlands Christian sophomore quarterback Elijah Vargas completed 7 of 21 passes in the first half with a 9-yard touchdown pass late in the second quarter. He also threw three interceptions.
“(Samuel Flores) played very well,” said Filipe De Paula Rosa. “He really stepped up in the second half. I’m proud of him. He needed it and he did what he was supposed to do.
Filipe De Paula Rosa intercepted a pass from Southlands Christian on the opening possession of the second half and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown.
Averbeck intercepted a pass from Southlands Christian on his second possession in the third quarter.
“I think we did pretty well,” said Samuel Flores. “There are a few mistakes we made here and there, but as we practice on Monday we will correct those mistakes and do what we need to do to improve for the next round.”
Lancaster Baptist is coming off a 52-35 loss to Leadership Military Academy that robbed the Eagles of a chance to win their first league title and finish 9-0 in the regular season.
“We definitely needed the momentum after a Leadership loss. We needed it,” said Filipe De Paula Rosa. “We needed a good win and we got it. Now we have to turn to our next opponent.
Lancaster Baptist advanced to the quarter-finals last year, losing to eventual champion Faith Baptist.
Lancaster Baptist won a CIF Championship in 2017, qualifying for the title in 2016 and 2019.
Southlands Christian finished third in the Majestic League, behind first-placed Cornerstone Christian and second-placed California Lutheran, who both played first-round matches on Friday and could face each other in the second round.
They were also the only two teams to beat Southlands this season.
Southlands went winless last season in the Express League.
It was the third different league in as many seasons for Southlands after switching from 11-a-side football in 2021.