Following a 2012 season in which the Flintridge Prep and Glendale High football teams put together historic campaigns, the history continued Monday.
For the first time since the 2008 season, a Rebel and a Nitro were rewarded with All-CIF recognition, as the teams were released Monday across all divisions.
Flintridge Prep senior linebacker Chad Cosse was named to the All-CIF Northeast defensive first team, Glendale senior receiver Michael Davis was tabbed to the Southeast first-team offense and, despite a losing season, St. Francis’ tradition of All-CIF selections continued with senior quarterback Jared Lebowitz and senior kicker Mark Verso notching first-team offensive Western Division nods.
“He always came up big,” said Flintridge Prep Coach Antonio Harrison of Cosse, who was a middle linebacker and tight end. “Point blank, every team had to account for him on offense and defense.”
Flintridge Prep went 6-5 for its first winning season since 2007, took second in the Prep League to advance to the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and defeated Ribet Academy in the opening round for its first playoff victory since 2003.
A major reason for the Rebels’ success — which came just a year after a one-win season — was Cosse, who was also an All-Prep League and All-Area selection.
Cosse, the first Rebel bestowed with All-CIF honors since running back Joel Bryant in 2008, had 67.5 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 12 tackles for a loss and blocked two kicks.
“The defense went through him and then [Dylan] Colliflower,” Harrison said.
He was also pivotal on offense, hauling in two touchdown catches, but more importantly was a phenomenal blocker in the Rebels’ wing-T offense that produced a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in Kurt Kozacik and Stefan Smith.
Smith had 1,700 total yards of offense and 26 touchdowns, as well as seven interceptions on defense, but was absent of All-CIF recognition.
“I was surprised, as well, that Stefan wasn’t there,” Harrison said. “If it was up to me, he would’ve been up there.”
Davis, who’s headed to play football at Brigham Young University, was crucial to the Nitros, who went 3-7, defeating both Hoover and Crescenta Valley to win the city championship for the first time since 2003.
Generally, All-CIF selections come after teams have made the playoffs, and even then there’s no guarantee, but Davis’ talent opened eyes as he was an all-around threat.
The reigning All-Area Boys’ Track and Field Athlete of the Year had 45 tackles as a defensive back and as a receiver threw for a touchdown, caught three, rushed for two and also had a kick return for a score. Davis was also a first-team All-Area and All-Pacific League pick.
Davis was the first Nitro since Jon Saucedo in 2008 to earn All-CIF accolades and that was on the second team (which are not released by CIF offices). Before that, Jaiya Figueras was the last All-CIF Nitro in 1992.
St. Francis went 4-7, earning an at-large Western Division playoff berth en route to falling to Lompoc in the first round.
Still, Lebowitz, the All-Area Football Player of the Year, was too good to be overlooked. The senior quarterback completed 192 of 330 passes for 2,560 yards and an area-leading 23 touchdowns to just seven interceptions.
Verso, possessing likely the area’s strongest leg, hit a season-long of 51 yards on one field goal and put 36 of 46 kickoffs in the end zone.