LA CAÑADA — Junior quarterback Darius Perrantes made his return to the St. Francis High football starting lineup on Friday night.
However, it was very much the two-pronged rushing attack of senior Elijah Washington and sophomore Kevin Armstead that led the way.
Washington rushed for a pair of touchdowns and 90 yards on 10 carries, while Armstead turned in 97 yards in 14 carries as the Golden Knights kicked off Angelus League play with a 24-7 win over St. Paul at Friedman Field.
"I was happy with both our running backs," said St. Francis coach Jim Bonds, whose team improved to 6-0 and defeated St. Paul for the 10th consecutive season. "They both did great and the offensive line gave them some big holes."
Washington was on a dead sprint going through a huge hole on the right side for a 42-yard first-quarter touchdown that led to a 10-0 lead and he scored from nine yards on an emphatic five-play drive of all runs to open the second half and a 17-0 advantage.
"Gotta give credit to my O-line," Washington said. "They were amazing."
St. Paul (3-3), the No. 5 team in CIF Southern Section Division VI, got all of its offensive success — limited as it was — via the run game as it had 223 of its 249 total yards on the ground. But the Swordsmen didn't score until just more than seven minutes remained in the game.
"Our defense played well all night," said Washington, who also plays linebacker.
Perrantes added the team's third and final touchdown when he scored on a one-yard keeper. Passing-wise, he was nine of 21 for 118 yards and an interception.
The game overall was "odd" in Bonds' words and "weird" Washington said, as it saw St. Francis put together some great momentum on scoring drives but look off on others, while St. Paul simply ran and ran, bending the Golden Knights' defense at times, but only once breaking it.
"It was obvious that their game plan was to keep our offense off the field," Bonds said.
St. Francis started well enough, forcing a three-and-out on St. Paul's first drive.
The Golden Knights' first possession was going right along but a dropped touchdown pass in the end zone led to a Nico Boschetti 37-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead.
St. Francis' offense was dynamic in its second drive as it took just two plays to score.
Perrantes hit Greg Dulcich for a 38-yard gain before Washington ran right, juked back left and scored from 42 yards.
"I saw the line block down and downfield, Dulcich really opened it up for me," Washington said.
St. Paul marched deep into St. Francis territory as the second quarter winded down, but a rushed field goal attempt as time was expiring hit the upright.
After a scoreless second quarter, the Golden Knights emerged from halftime fired up and just bullied the Swordsmen with a five-play, 60-yard drive of all runs culminated by Washington's nine-yard score and highlighted by a 22-yard gain from Armstead that began the drive.
"That was big," Washington said. "That kept the momentum going."
Whether the game was odd or weird or ugly, Bonds was still happy with the result.
"To go 1-0 in the Angelus League and 6-0 overall, that's always good," Bonds said. "So we're happy. We're never gonna complain about getting a win."