LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — Despite trailing at halftime, a confident Flintridge Prep football team took the field to start the third quarter.
It didn't take long to showcase the mentality, with a touchdown 1:26 into the half giving the Rebels their first lead of the contest and one that ultimately would not be relinquished.
Flintridge Prep scored 30 unanswered points in a stretch beginning late in the second quarter. But it was three touchdowns on its first three possessions in the second half that left little doubt in an eventual 37-34 win over visiting Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies on Friday night.
"We had to bring more physicality," said Rebels receiver Nick Davis led the team with nine catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns. "We had to fight back. The defense did great, it was up to the offense to match it."
"Even though we were down we knew we were about to go up.”
Flintridge Prep quarterback John Lytle had himself another big game, completing 14 of 26 attempts for 197 yards and four touchdowns. His 19-yard connection with Ben Grable with 10:34 in the third proved to be the game-winner. A two-point conversion from Lytle to Davis gave the Rebels (2-1) a 23-20 advantage.
Lytle and Grable hooked up again for an 11-yard touchdown with 4:55 to play in the third. The score capped a 77-yard drive that was highlighted by a 53-yard Davis reception. Lytle and Co. capitalized on the defense recovering a Sherman Oaks fumble deep in Rebels territory.
It was one of four turnovers caused by the Flintridge Prep defense, including AJ Nicassio's fumble recovery on the Knights' next possession.
The Rebels took the ball in Sherman Oaks territory this time, with the same result — a touchdown from Alex Payne to increase the lead to 37-20.
The Knights (0-2) answered with a touchdown midway through the fourth and cut the deficit down to three points but with 33 seconds remaining. An onside kickoff rolled out of bounds, allowing Lytle to kneel on the ball once and secure the victory.
"We had a lot of success, we were just missing by a little bit," Rebels Coach Russell White said. "At the half we said let's just get the timing down and give John more time. We were successful in the passing game, for the most part."
While Flintridge Prep aired it out, the Knights were run-heavy on offense, led by Jordan Lenhart's 133 yards on 21 carries. Daniel Llamas and Bryce Horton each totaled 65 yards on 10 carries apiece.
"They have a big, powerful back," White said of Lenhart. "In eight-man, you get used to seeing players like that. Tonight we learned that we need to tackle lower."
White's squad defeated Sherman Oaks in last season's opener, 56-34. On Friday night, the Knights were looking to avenge the loss and led by as many as 13 before the Rebels clawed back.
Horton scored the game's first touchdown with 37 seconds remaining in the opening frame to give the Knights an 8-0 lead. Lytle and Davis connected on a 10-yard strike but White elected to go for the extra point, keeping the team at a deficit.
Lenhart quarterback Alexander Chesney scored the next two touchdowns to give Sherman Oaks a 20-7 lead before Flintridge Prep scored 30 unanswered to regain momentum and respond to last week's loss.
"They're young guys, I'm proud of them," White said. "They worked hard. We got what we thought we were going to get — a good game."