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St. Francis football blanks Salesian in weather-shortened league opener

St. Francis football blanks Salesian in weather-shortened league opener
St. Francis' Evan Jernegan tackles Salesian?s Robert Morgan during Friday's game. (Miguel Vasconcellos)

LA CAÑADA — A lightning-quick offense displayed by the St. Francis High football team was finally stopped. It came at the expense of multiple lightning strikes in the area with a dash of rain from a rare fall storm.

St. Francis began Angelus League action Friday night against Salesian by scoring on its first four possessions in the first quarter.

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With lightning strikes in the area, the game was called at halftime, resulting in a 41-0 win for the Golden Knights.

Game officials and officials from St. Francis and Salesian agreed to call the game after a 40-minute delay following homecoming ceremonies. Rain began to fall and lightning strikes ensued, forcing the contest to be stopped.

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“It was the safe thing to do and the right thing to do,” St. Francis coach Jim Bonds said on ending the game early. “It’s for the safety of the players, fans, coaches.

“We had something like this happen in a game a few years back at West Ranch, when we had to stop the game. But then we resumed it. The officials and the school athletic directors definitely made the right move.

“It’s good to start league with a win and we wanted to get off to a good start when we received the ball to start the game. Usually, we tend to defer and play defense in our games. But it was good to come out like that and click right away.

St. Francis (5-3) regrouped following a last-minute 56-49 nonleague defeat against Paraclete on Oct. 5.

On the first play from scrimmage, St. Francis quarterback Darius Perrantes, the reigning All-Area Football Player of the Year, connected with Tanner Tomko on a 55-yard touchdown pass just 15 seconds in to give the Golden Knights a 7-0 lead.

Perrantes completed five of six passes for 207 yards and three touchdowns.

St. Francis made it 14-0 on its next possession on a one-yard run from running back Kevin Armstead with 8:18 remaining in the opening quarter. It would be the first of three touchdown on the night for the junior.

Armstead, a reigning All-Area honoree, made it 20-0 on a 43-yard run about three minutes later.

“We just wanted to come back strong after that hard loss last week,” said Armstead, who finished with 76 yards rushing in eight carries. “It’s great to get a win right away in league and we did a lot of good things.

“The weather was pretty crazy with the lightning. I’ve never seen anything like that before. I liked the way we clicked on offense.”

The Golden Knights, who finished second in league behind Cathedral before advancing to the CIF Southern Section Division III championship contest last season, closed out the first-quarter scoring when Perrantes tossed a 35-yard touchdown pass to Bryson Reeves to make it 27-0 with 3:33 to go.

St. Francis scored a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter.

St. Francis made it 34-0 on a 16-yard run from Armstead with 9:20 left in the first half.

The Golden Knights wrapped up the scoring on a 67-yard touchdown pass from Perrantes to Tomko with 2:09 remaining.

Tomko caught two passes for 122 yards and Reeves hauled in three receptions for 86 yards.

Salesian (2-6) finished with 56 yards of offense.

St. Francis and Cathedral are scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Friday at Cathedral.

Cathedral took on Crespi in a league game Friday at Cathedral. The game was suspended with Cathedral leading, 7-0, in the first quarter because of the lightning.

The game will likely resume Monday night.

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