GLENDALE — The following are previews of the area’s upcoming high school football games.
While there will likely be more important games ahead on St. Francis High’s schedule, it’s unlikely the Golden Knights will encounter as arduous a foe as they do on Friday night in former Mission League-rival Sherman Oaks Notre Dame.
“There’s a storied tradition about Notre Dame and what they’ve accomplished,” said St. Francis Coach Jim Bonds, whose 5-0 Golden Knights look to remain undefeated when they host Notre Dame at 7:30 p.m. at Friedman Field. “Looking at our schedule ... we knew we had our work cut out.”
Notre Dame (4-1) is ranked fourth in the Pac-5 Division and 28th in the state by Maxpreps.com. And, traditionally, the Knights have gotten the better of St. Francis in the past, defeating the Golden Knights, 33-6, in 2007 when the teams last clashed and when they were Mission League foes, Notre Dame bested St. Francis four times in 2004 and ’05 with league and CIF semifinals wins in each of those seasons.
Thus, Bonds contends his team has great respect for its opposition, but isn’t about to concede anything to Notre Dame.
“We want to convey to our kids that we have just as good a chance to win this game as they do,” said Bonds, whose team is ranked No. 1 in the Western Division. “This is a different group than I’ve had in a while.”
Thus, while league play awaits in two weeks’ time, Bonds assures nobody is looking to simply get past or through this week.
“Our entire focus has been on this week,” Bonds said.
And that focus centers around the talented Knights offense, keyed by much-ballyhooed quarterback Ryan Kasdorf (1,317 total yards, 13 total touchdowns), running back Kenneth Boggs (561 yards rushing, nine touchdowns) and receiver Tyler Thomas (552 yards receiving).
“They’re very balanced and they’re big up front,” Bonds said. “It seems like [Kasdorf] has forever to throw and [Boggs] has big holes to run through.”
Longtime Notre Dame Coach Kevin Rooney sees St. Francis as much the same makeup.
“They’ve got some outstanding offensive players,” Rooney said. “Obviously, Dietrich Riley’s an outstanding player. Their quarterback’s a threat to run and pass, they have several receivers to go to and they have a big offensive line. They present a big challenge for us.”
Riley, also a safety, has rushed for 435 yards in 48 carries and scored eight touchdowns, while quarterback Justin Posthuma has 13 total scores. Riley, Travis Talianko and Austin Nieves all have more than 10 catches.
Said Rooney: “I think we both have [balanced offenses] which means it might be a pretty high scoring game.”
Crescenta Valley at Hoover (7 p.m. Friday) at Moyse Field: Coming off an embarrassing 42-14 Oct. 2 Pacific League loss to Burbank, the Falcons (3-2, 1-1 in league) got back to their winning ways on Friday with an emphatic 56-14 victory over a one-win Glendale team.
With the No. 8 ranking in the Southeast Division, they will be looking to keep the ball rolling against another struggling area Pacific League program in the Tornadoes (1-4), who have started out 0-2 in league with losses to Pasadena and Burroughs.
Shoddy tackling proved again to be Hoover’s Achilles heel in its 45-7 loss to the Indians on Friday, in which the Tornadoes surrendered 218 rushing yards in 15 carries to Dalton Williams, who had several big-yardage plays, including touchdown runs of 28 and 67 yards.
That could be a big factor against the Falcons, who boast one of the top running backs in the league in senior Harry Pessy. Plus, speedy slotback Dai Dai McFadden, who scored three touchdowns last week, is always a threat for yards after a catch.
The anticipated return of running back Ivan Tello from a concussion suffered against Pasadena two weeks ago can only help the Tornadoes offense and quarterback AJ Pule, who was limited to 35 yards passing versus Burroughs before a foot injury knocked him out for the fourth quarter.
Glendale at Burbank (7 p.m. Friday) at Burroughs High: With a big win over Crescenta Valley and an overtime conquest of defending league champion Muir in its back pocket, Burbank (4-1) has emerged as the team to beat in the Pacific League.
The Nitros (1-4), on the other hand, are simply looking to stay afloat in league after falling to Arcadia and Crescenta Valley in their first two outings.
Glendale’s offense has started to put more points on the board of late, averaging 14 per game in the last two weeks after totaling the same number over the first two weeks of the season.
But they’ve given up 80 points so far in league and will have to focus on limiting the Bulldogs’ explosive running game, led by Ulises Ochoa, who averages 130 yards per game and has found the end zone eight times.
Flintridge Prep at Rio Hondo Prep (7:30 p.m. Friday): The Rebels (1-3) open Prep League play this week against the league champion Kares (5-0), who also happen to be the reigning Northeast Division champion and No.1-ranked team therein.
Although it’s made the playoffs each of the last two years, Prep’s passage to the postseason hasn’t gone through Rio Hondo, which has won the last five meetings, including last season’s 54-7 blowout.
Rio Hondo is led by the two-pronged running attack of Nick Preciado and Charles Quintero, which has combined for 612 yards and 10 touchdowns on the year.
Prep won its first game of the season on Oct. 2 at Malibu and, coming off a bye week, Coach Perry Skaggs believes his team has turned a corner and is ready to mount a strong run in league. But for the moment they’ll have to do it without offensive catalyst Jordan Whaley. The junior H-back will miss his third straight game with a hip injury.