A quick glimpse at Baylor's winning 49-35 score against Battle Ground Academy would suggest that the Red Raiders had a battle, similar to the teams' matchup a week earlier, yet it was anything but.
The Red Raiders twice invoked the 35-point mercy rule Friday, and BGA had three meaningless scores in the final 5:16. After the Wildcats' final score, Baylor coach Phil Massey instructed the first-team defense to be ready if they scored again.
Baylor (8-3) will play next Friday at Memphis University School, the top seed from the West Region.
George Porter finished with 184 yards on the ground and three scores, including a 97-yard run on the Red Raiders' first play from scrimmage.
Baylor intercepted two passes, Russell Burton returning one for a touchdown and Glenn Ireland almost doing so but being stripped of the ball at the 1-yard line. Teammate Luke Hutchins recovered the fumble for a score as Baylor built a 35-0 lead after a quarter.
"All season long, we've been talking about getting off to a good start, so it was exciting to see it happen," Massey said. "We've talked about peaking, so to come out and take over in the first quarter is exciting."
Michael O'Connor had a touchdown run, and fellow quarterback Nick Tiano threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Isaac White. O'Connor's lone completion went 58 yards to White, and Tiano had a 45-yard completion to Joey Rogers in the third quarter.
"We ran very little spread last week," Massey said. "We were pro-I a lot, but this week we opened up, we faked some reverses and had a fake punt. We did things out of multiple formations to get our identity."
BGA quarterback Tucker Beatherd finished with 218 yards passing and 54 rushing, while Keenan Bass had 100 yards on 21 carries, but most of that damage was done against Baylor reserves in the final minutes.
"Hopefully we can build on this," Massey said. "We have our hands full with a tough road ahead, but we have a great group of guys and we hope to continue to play well and lay it on the line next week."