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Serrano Shows Golden Touch at Lancaster

Football: Diamondbacks step up in class again and score 20-14 victory.


LANCASTER — It was like one of those cartoon double takes.

Coach Ray Maholchic of Serrano High couldn't believe what he saw when he first laid eyes on his 2000 football schedule.

Little Serrano, a Division VIII school, was matched against three Division III Golden League teams.

"I asked [the athletic director], 'What are you doing?' " he said. "I thought he was trying to get me fired."

After the Diamondbacks' 20-14 nonleague victory over Lancaster, Maholchic might be in line for a raise.

Clark Flournoy, an All-Southern Section running back, rushed for 268 yards for Serrano (3-1), which made a gutsy goal-line stand in the final minute and is 2-0 against Golden League teams.

The Diamondbacks, who play Antelope Valley in two weeks, defeated Quartz Hill, 28-14, on Sept. 8.

Lancaster (2-1) posted an emotional second-half rally last week to defeat Sultana, only two days after learning of the death of former teammate Majdy Haddad, who was killed in a convenience store hold-up.

On Wednesday, players and staff attended a funeral for Haddad, the league's lineman of the year, then appeared headed for another strong finish.

After rallying from 6-0 and 12-6 deficits, the Eagles marched 86 yards in the final minutes.

However, four consecutive handoffs to running back Tony Ortiz netted only three yards and the drive ended when Ortiz fumbled on fourth and goal at the Serrano one-yard line with one minute left.

"It's just so frustrating," said Ortiz, the Golden League's back of the year as a junior. "The fact that I couldn't get in there in four plays. . . . I did all I could. There was just nowhere to go."

Colton Walter, who earlier blocked a Serrano extra point, blocked a 21-yard field goal try with seven minutes left to set up the final drive.

Ortiz had 82 yards in 17 carries and scored on two three-yard runs in the first half. His two-point conversion gave Lancaster a 14-12 lead in the second quarter.

But Flournoy, who rushed for more than 1,600 yards last season as a sophomore, carried 34 times and scored two touchdowns, the second a five-yard run late in the second quarter. A two-point conversion pass provided a 20-14 margin.

The Eagles were called for 11 penalties for 84 yards, none more costly than a holding call that negated what would have been a 37-yard touchdown run by backup quarterback Dustan Stowe with 5:01 left.

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