LA CAÑADA — Minus its standout quarterback, the St. Francis High football team turned to a slew of other talented players to make up for the key absence.
With senior quarterback Darius Perrantes on the sideline battling an illness, St. Francis had plenty of other options in store. They came through swimmingly.
Reserve quarterback Doyle Kane completed 14 of 18 passes for 255 yards and running back Kevin Armstead rushed for 211 yards in 25 carries Friday to lift host St. Francis to a 38-21 nonleague win against Damien at Friedman Field.
Kane tossed two touchdowns and ran for one and Armstead scored two rushing touchdowns for the Golden Knights (1-1).
“Darius had a temperature of 102 on Wednesday and missed school on Thursday and he was around 102 or 103 today,” said St. Francis coach Jim Bonds, the reigning All-Area Football Coach of the Year who guided the Golden Knights to the CIF southern Section Division III championship contest last season. “Doyle came in and did a great job and he threw a lot of passes on the money. Not too many were dropped.
“It’s not easy when you have an All-CIF guy like Darius out of the lineup, but we have a lot of talented players who can do the job. When you have a key guy up, it’s a chance for the next guy to elevate their game.”
St. Francis took a 3-0 lead on a 45-yard field goal by Nicholas Boschetti with 9:15 left in the first quarter. Kane then tossed a 19-yard touchdown pass to Tanner Tomko with 4:09 to go in the first quarter to extend the advantage to 10-0.
Armstead, a reigning All-Area honoree, made it 17-0 on a 90-yard touchdown run with 11:35 left in the second quarter.
“He’s just a solid runner who can do a lot of things well,” Bonds said. “We did a good job at mixing a lot of plays up and our defense did well in stopping a very good team in Damien.”
Damien (1-2) cut the deficit to 17-7 on a one-yard run by Jermaine Barner with 6:16 to play in the second quarter.
St. Francis, which placed second in the Angelus League last season, scored two touchdowns in the final two minutes of the half. A 39-yard touchdown pass from Kane to Tomko made it 24-7 with 1:58 left. A four-yard run by Armstead gave the Golden Knights a 31-7 advantage with 25.2 seconds to go. Tomko had four catches for 76 yards.
Damien sliced the deficit to 31-14 on a 12-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jordan Barton to Ruben Del Castillo with 6:58 remaining in the third quarter.
Kane scored on the first play of the fourth quarter on a four-yard run to give the Golden Knights a 38-14 lead.
The Spartans closed out the scoring on a two-yard run by Chase Carter with 9:13 left.
Barton completed 19 of 28 passes for 245 yards.