By Justin Vigil-Zuniga
Signal Sports Writer
Santa Clarita Christian football lost its opener, 37-24, against Lancaster Baptist at Canyon High School on Saturday.
Quarterback Cayden Rappleye is one of several Cardinals who doesn’t come off the field much. The sophomore quarterback is also an anchor at cornerback and punter.
Rappleye finished the day with 152 passing yards, three touchdowns, nine tackles and a sack.
The team came out with a ton of intensity and went up 18-6 in the second quarter. The Eagles kept slashing away at the lead and would wind up winning, but head coach Austin Fry loved what he saw from his team.
“We look so improved from where we were last year,” said Fry. “I know we haven’t touched our potential yet.”
The team only had a handful of home games last season so getting to open at home in front of a big crowd meant the world to Fry and the program.
Lancaster Baptist dual threat quarterback Felipe De Pala Rosa was a tricky assignment for the Cardinals. Fry noted the quarterback as one of the best eight-man football players he’s seen.
Rappleye was forced out of the game briefly due to concussion protocol. On the next play with their gunslinger sidelined, receiver Eli Duhm ran in a big score to retake the lead.
The team had running back Timmy Tadler II in at the helm for a few plays before Rappleye rejoined the team on the field.
Senior Carter Aispuro gave the Eagles secondary trouble throughout the game as the senior totaled five catches for 89 yards and a pair of receiving touchdowns.
Fry thought Lancaster Baptist has a strong and disciplined line on both sides of the football. He was impressed with his team’s grit against a much larger opposing front. The line kept Rappleye off the ground for most of the night but it doesn’t hurt that the sophomore can run as well.
The Cardinals had more first downs and ran nearly twice as many plays as their opponent, but in the end, big plays cost SCCS the game.
SCCS will look for its first win since the program’s rebirth on Saturday when they host Hillcrest Christian. The Saints have a balanced attack on offense so Fry is aiming to have his team ready for anything and to learn how to create momentum rather than just rely on it.
“[I want to see them] learning how to take over moments and not just gliding on momentum but to reproduce momentum over and over again. They’re young so that killer mentality is still developing in them.”
The Cardinals take on the Saints 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Canyon.