On a night when Flintridge Prep junior Silas Chavez set a school record for longest field goal, the Rebels were brilliant in all three phases of a 49-26 victory over visiting Ojai Thacher in nonleague eight-man football on Friday evening.
With the victory, Flintridge Prep improved to 3-0 in the second-best start to the season under fourth-year coach Russell White, whose program opened the 2016 campaign with four straight wins.
The Rebels also won their third consecutive contest versus the Toads (1-1), though by a significantly higher point differential than the three points that separated the teams the last two years.
“We’ve made a lot of changes from the last two years and you can see that tonight,” White said. “We reshuffled the deck, put people in better, comfortable positions and the guys have responded. We’re not as big as last year, but we’re faster and we’re making plays.”
Rebels quarterback Max Gitlin started the game with only three completions on his first 10 attempts, while he was hurt by four drops. The senior recovered to complete 18 of 29 passes for 359 yards and four touchdowns.
Gitlin’s biggest target was junior Zach Kim, who hauled in seven catches for 199 yards and two touchdowns while senior Ben Grable tallied five catches for 105 yards.
Maybe no Rebels’ player was more efficient than senior Charlie McCormick, whose four offensive touches resulted in touchdown catches of 16 and 22 yards along with a two-yard scoring run.
Perhaps the night’s highlight, however, came with the game well in hand for the Rebels.
Flintridge Prep led by 26 points with 10:56 left when White called on Chavez to attempt a 52-yard field.
“The past two weeks in practice, we’ve been working on more lengthy field goals,” Chavez said. “I hit like seven out of 10 from 50 in practice.”
The soccer standout blasted his name into the record books with a 52-yard kick that could have easily sailed another 10 yards.
“The decision to try that kick was an absolute no-brainer and guess what, the ball could have gone further,” White said. “Somebody’s going to need a kicker and he’s only a junior.”
The kick provided some drama for a game decided by halftime.
Thacher opened with a 65-yard touchdown run from quarterback Max Sanderson on the Toads’ first possession as the visitors raced to an 8-0 lead.
Flintridge Prep scored 26 consecutive points in the first half to go ahead, 26-8, at the break before stretching that run to 33 unanswered points.
The Rebels responded with an Alex Payne two-yard touchdown run, set up a by Kim interception, and a Chavez 38-yard field goal to lead, 9-8, after one.
Flintridge Prep added a 16-yard touchdown pass from Gitlin to McCormick, a McCormick two-yard scoring run and a Chavez 35-yard field goal to take an 18-point lead into halftime.
Gitlin hit then Kim with a wonderful 20-yard lob into the end zone which, after a Chavez extra point, put the Rebels ahead, 33-8, with 8:13 left in the third.
Flintridge Prep added touchdowns on a 61-yard pass from Gitlin to Kim, a 22-yard pass play from Gitlin to McCormick and Chavez’s record kick.
Sanderson, who rushed 21 times for 168 yards and two scores, contributed his second rushing touchdown, this from 44 yards, to account for Thacher’s second score.
The Toads also received touchdowns on a four-yard run from Henry Mallory and a 55-yard touchdown pass from Sanderson to Taylor Berndt, who finished with four catches for 88 yards and one score.
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