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Behind Gitlin, Flintridge Prep football breezes to win in CIF playoff opener

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Flintridge Prep’s Germaine Harvey fights for yardage against PAL Charter Academy in Friday’s eight-man football Division I playoff opener.
(Miguel Vasconcellos)

Flintridge Prep football was able to right the ship after a frail ending to its regular season.

The Rebels had no problem taking out PAL Charter Academy in a 56-6 rout Friday to open postseason play and advance to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division I eight-man playoffs.

“I saw this team turn the page tonight after last week and play some good football,” Flintridge Prep coach Russell White said. “That’s all I can expect from them and while the body of work might not be done, it was a step in the right direction.”

Flintridge Prep (8-2) came into the first round with consecutive losses in Prep League play, but managed to get an at-large bid for the playoffs.

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Flintridge Prep’s Alexander Payne runs the ball during Friday’s CIF Southern Section Division I playoff game against PAL Academy at Flintridge Prep. (Photo by Miguel Vasconcellos)
(Miguel Vasconcellos/Glendale News Press)
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Quarterback Max Gitlin led the Rebels with 15-of-19 passing for 236 yards and six touchdowns.

“The offensive line gave me so much time and receivers were getting open,” Gitlin said. “It took me a while to get it going, but once I figured it out everything clicked.”

The Rebels got on the board with a touchdown pass from Gitlin, but the Horns countered almost immediately. Once Gitlin got the ball back, there was no looking back for Flintridge Prep. The senior quarterback seemed to get whatever he needed, finding Christian Baydaline for a 17-yard receiving touchdown.

He followed that with back-to-back 16-yard touchdown passes to Ben Grable and Kevin Ashworth to put the Rebels up, 28-6.

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The Horns secondary was a non-factor, opening the floodgates for Flintridge Prep. While the Rebels offense continued to score with ease, the defense put on a clinic causing three fumbles in the first half and recovering one for a touchdown to end the half with a 42-6 lead.

“The defense didn’t do much wrong the entire game,” Gitlin said. “Those guys gave me all the opportunities I needed to get out there and score.”

It was an all out disaster for the Horns, who continued to struggle in the third quarter. PAL Charter Academy consistently buried itself in its own territory to give itself little breathing room. Flintridge Prep took advantage, placing itself in scoring position every time the Horns turned the ball over.

With a running clock, the Rebels closed out the game with the same intensity they started with. The defense held the Horns to only one score.

It was a statement game for a Flintridge Prep team that struggled heading into the playoffs.

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Flintridge Prep’s Zach Kim runs the ball during Friday’s CIF Southern Section Division I playoff game against PAL Academy at Flintridge Prep. (Photo by Miguel Vasconcellos)
(Miguel Vasconcellos/Glendale News Press)

“It’s week to week and we’ll see who we end up playing next week. But tonight we were solid all around,” White said.

Flintridge Prep will face Cate or Downey Calvary Chapel — who play in their first-round game Saturday — next week in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division I eight-man playoffs.

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Flintridge Prep’s Kevin Ashworth is stopped by PAL Academy’s Eugene Hughes on a run during Friday’s CIF Southern Section Division I playoff game at Flintridge Prep. (Photo by Miguel Vasconcellos)
(Miguel Vasconcellos/Glendale News Press)
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Flintridge Prep’s Kevin Ashworth tries to avoid the tackle by PAL Academy’s Tamajae Smiler during Friday’s CIF Southern Section Division I playoff game at Flintridge Prep. (Photo by Miguel Vasconcellos)
(Miguel Vasconcellos/Glendale News Press)

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