The Class 3A quarterfinal battle of the Bulldogs saw top-ranked Lincoln Christian down No. 9 Sulphur 35-7 Friday night at Dennis Byrd Stadium.
Lincoln Christian (12-0) will face second-ranked Heritage Hall in the semifinals next week at a site, date, and time to be determined. The Chargers (12-0) beat No. 5 Berryhill 56-25 Friday in another quarterfinal. Sulphur finished 8-4.
This will be the fourth consecutive season Lincoln Christian and Heritage Hall have met in the semifinals. The Bulldogs won 33-6 in 2019 and 35-27 last year. The Chargers won 69-34 in 2018.
“Heritage Hall is a class program,” Lincoln Christian head coach Jerry Ricke said. “We know them. They know us. This will be the next game in a series of chess matchups.”
Lincoln Christian’s senior class of 11 players finished unbeaten in the four seasons on their home field with Friday’s victory.
“They are a really close group and have bonded so well,” said Ricke of his seniors. “They have led our team unbelievably.”
One of those seniors, quarterback Max Brown, completed 20-of-27 passes for 240 yards, had three touchdown tosses, and ran for another score.
“There have been a lot of special moments and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears,” said Brown about his final home field appearance. “We came out and played our hardest and left it all out there. It was great to come out on top.”
Lincoln Christian scored on the game’s opening drive. Brown finished off the 12-play, 83-yard march with a 10-yard keeper at the 6:11 mark of the first quarter.
Sulphur held the ball for the remainder of the period, but that drive eventually ended after 15 plays at the Lincoln Christian 41-yard line on an errant center snap that resulted in a loss of 13 yards.
Lincoln Christian got another touchdown on its next possession, courtesy of a 16-yard connection from Brown to Dylan Baldridge with 7:32 left in the second quarter.
Lincoln Christian extended its advantage to 21-0 after a 44-yard touchdown strike from Brown to Seth Kruse with 56 seconds remaining in the half.
Lincoln Christian’s opening drive of the second was similar to its first-half start. Easton Rogers ended the 10-play, 87-yard march on a 1-yard plunge with 5:35 left in the third period.
Brown then had another touchdown toss, this one covering 42 yards to Cam Dooley with 4:01 to go in the third quarter. That score came one play after a Logan Farris interception.
Rogers gained 84 yards on nine carries. Dooley had 107 receiving yards on eight grabs.
“Sulphur did a tremendous job of making us earn everything early,” Ricke said. “We had to drive the ball a little more but our kids were resilient. They are built on toughness, to keep their eyes forward, and to make the next play.”
LINCOLN CHRISTIAN 35,
Sulphur 0 0 0 7 — 7
Lincoln Christian 7 14 14 0 — 35
LIN — Brown 10 run (Lancaster kick) 6:11 q1
LIN — Baldridge 16 pass from Brown (Lancaster kick) 7:32 q2
LIN — Kruse 44 pass from Brown (Lancaster kick) :56 q2
LIN — Rogers 1 run (Lancaster kick) 5:35 q3
LIN — Dooley 42 pass from Brown (Lancaster kick) 4:01 q3
SUL — Ratchford 4 run (Amaya kick) 2:58 q4
First Downs — SUL 12, LIN 18. Rushes-Yards — SUL 43-113, LIN 23-161. Comp-Att-Int — SUL 4-12-2, LIN 20-27-0. Passing Yards — SUL 55, LIN 240. Fumbles-Lost — SUL 0-0, LIN 0-0. Penalty Yards — SUL 3-24, LIN 6-80. Records — SUL 8-4, LIN 12-0. Total Yards — SUL 168, LIN 401. Punts-Avg. — SUL 3-37.0, LIN 2-31.0.