ENCINO -- Rio Ruiz is known as a baseball player, first and foremost. More than a few scouts project him as a first-round draft pick in the 2012 MLB Draft.
Friday night, however, the senior from La Puente Bishop Amat played the part of football player. And then some. Ruiz completed 19-of-25 passes for 236 yards and pair of touchdowns to guide the visiting Lancers to a 28-14 Serra League victory over Crespi.
“Every week, this is what we get from Rio, he's a gamer,'' Bishop Amat coach Steve Hagerty said. “We know baseball is his first priority, we have no problems with that. We're just happy to have him around during football season. We'll go as far as he takes us.''
That was apparent from start to finish against the Celts (6-2, 1-1), no. 14 in the ESPNLosAngeles.com rankings. Ruiz was on point for the No. 14 Lancers (6-2, 1-1).
“Baseball is my first love, but I'm a competitor, that's why I play football,'' Ruiz said. “Tonight, I would not have been able to do anything without my offensive line. They rewarded me with time, I rewarded them with touchdowns. Things worked out good for all us.''
The fact the Celts had four turnovers didn't help their cause.
Crespi's Corey Peoples suffered what appeared to be a stinger at the 5:49 mark of the fourth quarter. A 30-minute delay followed because of the injury. He had use of his lower extremities, but was taken in an ambulance to a nearby hospital as a precautionary measure.
Once play resumed, Bishop Amat scored again. Jalen Moore took off on an 18-yard touchdown run to extend the advantage to 28-14 with 5:14 remaining in the game.
When all was said and done, Moore had 157 total offensive yards.
With starting quarterback Cody Cordell struggling, having already thrown a pair of interceptions, Brad Kaaya entered in the fourth quarter. Crespi responded to the change
Kaaya spotted Chris Harper in end zone and the senior receiver went up between multiple members of the Lancers' secondary to come down with a difficult 31-yard touchdown catch. All of a sudden, the deficit was down to 21-14 with 8:45 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Zachary Shay hadn't played in five games for Bishop Amat because of concussion-like symptoms. He returned Friday and finished 10 catches for 90 yards.
Bishop Amat opened the second half with a sense of urgency. Adam Sanchez caught a 50-yard pass from Ruiz to give Lancers a 14-7 lead with 8:24 left in the third quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, Crespi fumbled. Four plays later, Shay scored on a 1-yard run on fourth and goal to extend the advantage to 21-7 with 6:48 left in the third quarter.
Trailing by a touchdown in the second quarter, the Lancers answered. Ruiz found Idilio Sanchez on a 5-yard touchdown to tie the score, 7-7, with 5:33 left on the first half clock.
“No. 9, that kid Ruiz, he was phenomenal,'' Crespi coach Jon Mack said.
In the opening minutes of the second quarter, Harper caught a 14-yard pass to keep a key drive alive. Minutes later, Cordell threw a swing pass out in the flat to Mike Davison and he did the rest, scoring on a 17-yard pass-play to give Crespi a 7-0 lead with 10:25 left in the first half.
Harper ended up with six catches for 86 yards. Davison had three catches for 32 yards. Teammate Terry Williams finished with 126 all-purpose yards for the Celts.
Sean Ceglinsky covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.