ENCINO — Two three-and-outs. Three special teams miscues. Four unanswered touchdowns.
In a span of eight minutes, the St. Francis High football team saw its seven-point lead over Crespi turn into a 14-point deficit as the Golden Knights offense stalled in the second half of the Angelus League opener Friday.
Though St. Francis scored late, it was not enough as Crespi hung on for a 42-35 league win at home.
St. Francis quarterback Jack Clougherty finished 20-of-42 passing with three touchdowns, 273 yards and an interception. Golden Knights running back Kevin Armstead rushed for 149 yards and two touchdowns in 28 carries and receiver Bryson Reeves caught 10 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown. St. Francis receiver Max Garrison added two catches for 80 yards and a touchdown.
Crespi quarterback Sloan Senofsky completed 15 of 26 passes for 188 yards and three touchdowns and running back Michael Coleman had 11 carries for 108 yards and a touchdown.
The Golden Knights (6-2 ) struck first on a nine-yard touchdown connection from Clougherty to Adam Bakarat to give the visitors a 7-0 lead with 1:41 left in the first.
With Crespi (5-3, 1-0) deep in St. Francis territory at the start of the second quarter, Golden Knights junior Evan Jernegan recovered the ball after Senofsky fumbled on a pass attempt. St. Francis took advantage and added to its lead with a six-yard run from Armstead to for a 14-0 score at 8:29 in the second.
Crespi cut the St. Francis lead to 14-7 on a 37-yard run from Senofsky with 3:58 left in the half, but a 74-yard catch-and-run touchdown from Garrison gave St. Francis a 21-7 halftime lead.
Crespi opened up the third quarter with a 47 yard run from Senofsky to set up a two-yard touchdown pass to Celts receiver Amphian Hoff and make it a 21-14 score.
Armstead restored the Golden Knights two-score lead with a four-yard run with 5:16 in the third. He ran the ball 11 times for 62 yards on a 12-play scoring drive to give the Golden Knights the 28-14 lead.
A muffed punt extended Crespi’s ensuing drive capped by a five-yard touchdown throw to Celts receiver Taylor Evans to cut the St. Francis lead to 28-21 with 3:02 left in the third.
A muffed snap on the punt attempt from the Golden Knights set up a one-yard score for Hoff to tie the game at 28 at 10:41 in the fourth.
Then, a St. Francis punt attempted ricocheted off the back of a Crespi player and was recovered by the Celts on the Golden Knights 4-yard line. Senofsky followed that up with a four-yard touchdown pass to Jackson White to give the Celts their first lead, 35-28, with 9:26 to go.
Crespi finished off its scoring with a 15-yard run from Coleman with 7:04 left.
The Golden Knights made their way down the field to cut the Celts lead to 42-35 on an 11-yard catch-and-run touchdown from Reeves with 1:58 remaining.
St. Francis had another chance with the ball on the Crespi 35, but the pass from Clougherty was intercepted with 1:06 remaining.