If it’s was a litmus test, the Flintridge Prep football team would like another one later in the season.
Friday night’s showdown with Prep League foe and CIF Southern Section Division I’s No. 1-ranked Windward saw the teams even for about a quarter.
The No. 2-ranked Rebels would soon succumb to the Wildcats turning it up a notch and cruising to a 61-38 victory in eight-man action at Flintridge Prep, as they will likely look to make the necessary adjustments, should the teams meet again in the postseason.
“Good team,” said Rebels Coach Russell White, whose team suffered a defeat for the first time this season. “They’re top rated for a reason. They did a lot of things right.
“We challenges ourselves in certain situations, and it didn’t always work in our favor.”
Against a team that was allowing 7.2 points a game going into the league opener, the Rebels (6-1) had success moving the ball, with a pass-heavy attack led by quarterback Max Gitlin, who completed 32 of 51 passes for 375 yards and four touchdowns.
Ben Grable and Zach Kim were Gitlin’s favorite targets, as they combined for 25 receptions, 272 yards and four touchdowns. Grable led the team with 13 receptions for 151 yards and Kim complemented nicely with 11 for 121. Alexander caught five for 51 yards.
As methodical as Flintridge Prep’s attack was, Windward (6-0) used big plays to get ahead and ultimately stay ahead. The Rebels ran 53 offensive plays in the first half to the Wildcats’ 17. Windward attempted only seven passes on the night but had a 100-yard rusher in Aidan Gerst, who needed 11 carries to reach 105 yards.
The first quarter saw four touchdown, as the two teams were sizing each other up.
Gitlin found Grable for a touchdown 1:57 into the game.
Windward answered with a 62-yard strike a little over a minute later, then turned a Gitlin interception into a one-play touchdown driver thanks to Brett Webster alluding some tackles and taking it to the end zone.
An 11-play, 68 yard drive capped by a Gitlin to Kim touchdown retook gave the lead back to the Rebels, 14-13.
Another long drive after Windward was forced to punt on the ensuing possession allowed the Rebels to add to their lead with a field goal.
Then the wheels came off.
Windward scored on its next four possessions to close out the half with 28 unanswered points to take a 41-17 lead at the half. The Wildcats scored on six of their seven first-half possessions and all but two in the game.
“Once we made our adjustments, we were able to get focused in,” Wildcats Coach Hasan Muhammad said. “In a game like this you get overwhelmed with emotion and forget to make plays. We settled down and were able to play our game.”
The score was 54-17 in favor of the Wildcats when Flintridge Prep stopped the bleeding with Kim’s second touchdown at the 1:25 mark of the third quarter.
Silas Chavez, who made a field goal earlier, added a 19-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter that had a running clock until his score at 4:40.
“It was a game,” said White when asked how his team fared against the top-ranked Wildcats. “We have some high school meltdowns and it wasn’t our best game. Hopefully we get a chance to play them again.”
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