PICO RIVERA — At the halfway point of the season, there is no need to complain.
For starters, the St. Francis High football team has already eclipsed its win total from a year ago. Even better for the Golden Knights, they remain undefeated.
St. Francis received a pair of touchdown receptions from wide receiver Malik Speed on Friday to pick up a 45-7 nonleague victory against El Rancho.
The Golden Knights (5-0) led throughout the contest against a tattered El Rancho team that dropped to 2-3. St. Francis, ranked fifth in the CIF Southern Section Western Division, scored on all four of its first-quarter possessions.
“We feel pretty good as a staff to be 5-0,” said St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds, whose team went 4-6 last season.
“We talked more about eclipsing our win total after we beat Rio Mesa last week.
“We are just trying to get things straightened out, because we are staring at the gauntlet with our remaining schedule.”
St. Francis competed without standout running back Dietrich Riley, the reigning All-Area Player of the Year. Bonds said Riley, a junior, is still suffering from a back ailment, but hopes to have him back in the lineup next week for a nonleague home game against Bishop Amat.
The Golden Knights also lost running back Evan King after he scored on a one-yard run to give St. Francis a 7-0 lead with 8:28 left in the first quarter. King, who finished with 40 yards rushing in just two carries, suffered an apparent left ankle injury and did not return.
That meant the Golden Knights needed Speed and his teammates to help keep the offensive game plan going.
Speed caught a 42-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Justin Sciarra to make it 14-0 with 6:31 left in the first quarter. After Ryan Younker recovered a fumble at the El Rancho 23-yard line, Austin Nievas scored on a nine-yard run to extend the lead to 21-0.
Jeff Johnson then caught a 19-yard touchdown pass from Sciarra to make it 28-0 with 40 seconds left in the opening quarter. Sciarra, who had 177 yards on nine of 14 passing, threw his third and final touchdown with 3:43 left in the second quarter when he connected with Speed for 53 yards and a 35-0 advantage.
CHARLES RICH covers sports. He can be reached at (818) 637-3228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.