LA CAÑADA – Just in case there was a belief that the La Serna High football team had an edge over St. Francis, such doubts were put to bed emphatically Friday evening.
The host Golden Knights scored the game’s first 42 points in a 49-20 nonleague rout of the Lancers at Friedman Field in a game that was not as close as the score would indicate.
After four years and four rounds, the series between the two teams is now tied at 2 with a potential for the CIF Southern Section Division III squads meeting once again in the postseason.
“We were able to find some runs and [quarterback] Darius [Perrantes] found some open receivers and I think we only ran 25 to 30 plays in the first half and generated something like 300 yards of offense,” St. Francis coach Jim Bonds said. “We were just clicking. The timing was good and the protection was OK.”
For a second straight week, Perrantes saw limited action in a blowout.
The junior quarterback completed nine of 13 passes for 219 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed three times for 12 yards and one score before being subbed out early in the third quarter.
St. Francis scored on all five of its offensive possessions in the first half and had one touchdown on defense to take a 42-7 advantage into the break.
Golden Knights sophomore running back Kevin Armstead rushed nine times for 43 yards and two touchdowns with his first touchdown a one-yard score that give St. Francis a 14-0 lead with 8:21 left in the first quarter.
Senior running back Elijah Washington also punched in two touchdowns – one from 14 yards and the second from three yards – and finished with 39 yards on eight carries.
Washington’s second score put St. Francis ahead, 28-0, with 10:13 left in the second quarter.
Perrantes put the game out of reach with a two-yard rushing touchdown that was followed by a 16-yard scoring pass to Blake Howard that gave the home team a resounding 42-0 lead with 1:15 left in the first half.
While St. Francis (3-0) was moving the ball well on offense, the defense was stout against La Serna (2-2) and its Wing-T offense.
The Lancers, who picked up playoff wins against St. Francis in 2014 and 2015 thanks to a befuddling offense, struggled to move the ball.
La Serna generated five first downs in its first eight possessions against St. Francis’ first-team defense. It was only in the fourth quarter that La Serna picked up nine first downs and two touchdowns.
“I give a lot of credit Mark Gibbons and our defensive staff because they did such a great job,” Bonds said. “It’s hard to prep for that [Wing-T] offense. ...It’s the fourth year in a row we played them and the first two didn’t go our way. We’re now even the last four years.”
Senior defensive back Bobby Gazmarian played a big role, intercepting two passes, while the cornerback returned the first pick 26 yards for a touchdown to give St. Francis its first lead, 7-0, at the 10-minute mark in the first quarter.
“I think [the interception] is what started the momentum of the game and kept us on a role,” Gazmarian said. “After that, we just kept rolling.”
St. Francis’ lone second-half score was a four-yard touchdown run by Armstead.
St. Francis’ Greg Dulcich enjoyed a big day, hauling in four catches for 107 yards and rushing twice as a quarterback for 25 yards.
La Serna broke up the Golden Knights’ shutout with one second left in the first half on 21-yard touchdown pass from Ben Orona (nine for 18 for 86 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions) to Fonzie Ibanez.
La Serna added an Orona five-yard touchdown run and a 10-yard scoring pass from Andrew Henriquez to Calvin Salcido in the fourth quarter to account for the scoring.